NADA for the Masses

“I love the idea of mass-market fashion. Sort of ‘no fashion’ fashion,” says Cary Leibowitz, one of four artists invited to design a limited-edition garment for NADA by American Apparel. The retail giant teamed up with the not-for-profit contemporary art collective, selecting four NADA-affiliated artists to design limited edition garments. In addition to Leibowitz, Anya Kielar, Andrew Kuo, and Scott Reeder translated their aesthetics to suit a mainstream audience.

For Leibowitz, the opportunity to participate in a phenomenon outside his age bracket was what was most appealing. “We all have to grow up sometime, and I’m happy to be invited to hang with young, thin, good-looking people,” he says.

The four participating artists were selected by American Apparel from a pool of 25 showing at this week’s NADA Miami Beach. “We went through each artists’ work and thought about how their aesthetics could translate into a garment,” says Iris Alonzo, Creative Director of American Apparel. For Leibowitz, this meant a bag adorned with buttons. The piece is a reflection of the artist’s self-proclaimed nerdiness. “Sexy underwear was too much pressure,” he says. “I like that the big bag becomes a babysitting assignment—ugh, I’ve got to lug this monstrosity around!” The artist’s humorous approach was the norm (take Andrew Kuo’s pot-smoking alien alongside the phrase “Take Me To Yr Dealer,” for example). “NADA is anything but stuffy,” says Alonzo. “I think each artist came up with something unique that will make you smile.”

One limited-edition garment will be released each day of NADA Miami Beach 2013. Whether you’re 420 friendly or you fancy a satchel that’s as charming as it is inconvenient, NADA and American Apparel have got you covered with the perfect Art Basel (or anti-Basel, as the case may be) keepsake.