When I arrive at the Off The Kerb gallery for the PANT Active group show it is one of those beautiful ‘only in Melbourne,’ moments.
Not only has it been raining all of this January day, but I am at an art gallery to view leggings- and to mingle with artists whose work would never have seen the inside of a gallery in decades past.
I am here to celebrate the launch of PANT Active’s Summer 2017 collection.
Melbourne based design duo Deborah and Brenton Loh have been putting street art on active wear, in collaboration with some of Melbourne’s best street artists, for over a year now. In some ways, they are a gallery themselves, curating Melbourne’s street art and collaborating with Melbourne residents to turn them into walking (running, sweating) works of art.
To celebrate the launch of their latest collection, PANT Active have curated a group show at the Off The Kerb gallery in Collingwood. Original works from artists such as Ruskidd, Dosey, Tayla Broekman, Emily Wright and Erin Greer were shown.
If you haven’t heard of these artists yet (and you should have), you will soon. What was once an underground movement has definitely come in from the cold. In 2004, the National Gallery of Victoria began purchasing pieces by Melbourne street artists and now has a collection of several hundred works. And Melbourne is largely regarded one of the top 10 destinations for viewing street art, sitting alongside cities such as New York, Berlin, London and Sao Paulo.
Ironically in 2007, around the time that street art became a tourism selling point, the Victorian Government enacted legislation that reversed the onus of proof. Those suspected of creating street art in a public place must prove themselves innocent rather than it being the responsibility of the prosecutors to prove them guilty.
None of that is at the forefront on Friday night though. PANT Active’s gorgeous leggings, crop tops and bodysuits are definitely private property. I snap up a gorgeous set by Dosey, thus making them my private property.
All artworks on display are also for sale, with a great many of them already sporting red dots by the time I arrive.
There is something so very ‘Melbourne,’ about the union of activewear and street art that it warms my heart.
At home later that night I try on my Dosey artworks. I can’t help but marvel at the genius of the Loh siblings who have taken something that is usually enjoyed passively and turned it something more: a piece of art that I can actively engage with.
I spoke with Deborah and Brenton about their vision, their passion for manufacturing in Melbourne and their latest collaborations and will be blogging about that shortly.