The Girl in the Hand Painted Skirt

For my most recent art exhibition last week, I decided to try something different. As many of you can relate, getting an outfit together is a crucial part of preparing for an event (for some, the most crucial haha). I wanted to look the part of a friendly host to welcome my guests, but I also wanted have a bit of fun and do something out of the box.

It wasn't that much of a stretch after all. I've been flirting with the idea of seeing my art on textiles for months now, and already have some collaborations in the pipelines including a line with a niche T-shirt startup, as well as a modest-dresswear company in Malaysia. But, I guess I'm a bit greedy when it comes to the creative stuff. I want to feel the paint on the fabric. I want to lay in the juicy colors myself. Hence, my ensemble.

As it got closer and closer to the opening date, I started to freak out and wonder if I was making a mistake. I mean, let's be honest here: a hand-painted anything could either look very cliche and just tacky, or give the allure of Haute couture and make you wish you could find it at Neiman Marcus. Indeed, that was one of the pieces of advice another friend of mine cautioned me with. I had hoped for the latter, obviously. To make matters worse, I had no time to prepare for a backup outfit. This was it, guys!

My studio step ladder proved to be a handy double as the skirt's easel.

My studio step ladder proved to be a handy double as the skirt's easel.

Using the step-ladder as a support, I was able to paint one side of the skirt at a time without the colors bleeding into the other side.

Using the step-ladder as a support, I was able to paint one side of the skirt at a time without the colors bleeding into the other side.

The fabric paints were highly pigmented, which made for less work on my part. Very good color.

The fabric paints were highly pigmented, which made for less work on my part. Very good color.

But still, it was a big risk. I sat down two nights before and sketched out my design. I knew I wanted big sweeping motions of color but I'd never used fabric paint before. I procured a 200 dirham (about $75) skirt from a store here, after assessing several options, and then proceeded to get to work.

I painted in the sketch of my outfit using the fabric paints themselves so I could get acquainted with the medium.

I painted in the sketch of my outfit using the fabric paints themselves so I could get acquainted with the medium.

I'm not fashion designer, so bear with me, haha.

I'm not fashion designer, so bear with me, haha.

In the end, I'm happy with the results. It was an amazing garment and I felt truly decadent wearing it. The fabric paints were not treated after, so I'm sure with some ironing and setting, the skirt would have more of a bounce and flow to it. But, I love the structured look and it felt amazing.

hilton skirt-amira rahim

Sometimes you just have to go for it! Right?

P.S. What type of clothing item would you wear if it were a hand-painted design? 

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