Coalesce: A Unique Union of Fashion and Art

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For the beginning of spring semester at the University of North Texas, our good friend, senior fashion design major Marina Girgis along with new friends, senior double major in fashion design and fibers Lauren Gray and senior art major Claire Watkins have the first spot of the semester for their exhibit, Coalesce: An Art & Fashion Exhibition. We at DFW Style Daily, have the exclusive story of how the idea came to fruition and the behind-the-scenes of how hard these ladies worked to make the final product.

The name Coalesce is not one that is used in everyday conversation, but it is the creative, unique and beautiful singular word, these ladies chose to showcase their work together.

“We were trying to find a word that relates to us bringing Claire’s oil paintings and our garments together and coalesce means ‘to one as a whole’,” Lauren said.


Image courtesy of Marina Girgis

The idea to show fashion and art together, came from the girls seeing others show their work. What the girls didn’t see, was the use of more than one medium in the previous exhibits. The senior trio all agree that fashion is not well represented in galleries and wants to show that fashion is art and that the fashion department at UNT has more than just their annual senior fashion collection show.

“We just thought, ‘how do we change the perception of fashion or how fashion design students work in an artistic way just like other majors,’” Marina said. “People don’t really think of us as people who sit down and look at art to come up with inspiration and sketch a million times. It’s, in a way, like painting.”


Image courtesy of Josh Wilbourn @joshwilbournvideo

When an attendee walks through the exhibit, they are first greeted with hues from the cool colors of various blue shades and build to more intense, bold, popping colors like shades of red. Garments and paintings are placed next to each other to enhance one another’s qualities and to create a balance between the multiple colors. The trio shares a love for the abstract, avant-garde and postmodern designs. To take a sneak peak, check out the video below.

What people might find interesting is how little time this trio had to put this together and what is was like to work on the exhibit. The trio worked individually, away from each other throughout the process, since they worked on Coalesce during their winter break. To their surprise, everything they individually created matched to create the final show.

“Our aesthetics are really similar, we’re all super colorful and it kind of seemed to just work out really well,” Claire said.


Image courtesy of Sydney Cooper

Though the trio’s style is similar, each of their parts were influenced and inspired in different ways.

For example, two of Marina’s garments, from her upcoming line St. Marino; Reply to Red is inspired by surrealist artist, Yves Tanguy. Lauren finds her inspiration from the materials around her. Her garments are created from scraps, as in, the fabric she used is not one you can buy from a store like JoAnn Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. And Claire, the oil painter is inspired by the human experience, abstract and words.

Coalesce will be available to view for ten days at the University of North Texas Union, starting on January 16th. The public can attend during normal Union business hours. The closing reception will be held on January 25th from 5-7 PM.

Check out Marina, Lauren and Claire on their Instagram pages. Also, check out Marina’s website here. We and the girls, hope to see you there!


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