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April 20 2014

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Fort Makers Paints the Way

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Fort Makers x Baggu

“We’re not your typical company,” explained Nana Spears, the creative director of four-person Brooklyn-based art collective Fort Makers. Since 2008, the group—which includes Spears’ jewelry designer cousin Elizabeth Whitcomb, as well as painter Naomi Clark and her husband, woodworker Noah Spencer—has been bridging the gap between art and design. This year alone, the crew launched a capsule collection of hand-painted dresses for Anthropologie, showcased a series of outdoor public artworks in Richmond, Virginia, and—in two weeks—will showcase their third project for MoMA PS 1′s Warm Up series. Perhaps most exciting, however, is Free Space, their art-installation-cum-pop-up shop that opens tomorrow in New York at Pier 19. Set inside a former—and soon-to-be demolished—Victoria’s Secret store, the space has been transformed into a vivid abstract painting, courtesy of Clark. “We try to work in spaces that we find challenging and inspiring,” Spears told Style.com. On offer inside will be expressive painted silk scarves and dresses ($320) that correspond with the interior, as well as painted leather Baggu totes and pouches (from $50) and maple-wood cutting boards crafted by Spencer (from $45). “Our products are pieces of art that we think you can use—that way, you can enjoy the art a step further,” said Spears.

The Bauhaus-minded collective, whose clothes and home wares are also available at Steven Alan, Totokaelo in Seattle, and Tomorrowland in Tokyo, hopes that shoppers will experience the same freedom inside the space as they did while making it. “I hope people are inspired. And I hope it makes them want to create something,” said Spears. “I think that’s the biggest compliment of all.”

Free Space will be open from tomorrow, August 14, through August 28 at Pier 17 on Fulton Street in New York City.

Photo: Courtesy of Fort Makers

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