POP ART

Byline: Jessica Kerwin

NEW YORK--It had to happen. With the advent of plastic-vinyl chic, it was inevitable that somewhere, in some quirky enclave, someone would develop bubble-wrap clothes. What could be more unnatural?
The credit goes to Jump Art Crew, a loose collective of performance artists who create the clothes they wear for appearances at the New York performance space The Garage. They also sported their air-wear at Woodstock, in a performance during DJ Spooky's Ravestock stint.
And they're playing the pretentious folly of their fashion for all it's worth. "It represents a fictional reality where truth and fiction exist in the same plane," according to de facto spokesman Howard--"Just Howard," of course.
Nevertheless, Crew members insist bubble chic has possibilities beyond the stage and, in fact, maintain it's totally utilitarian: If it's hot out, cut off the sleeves; when it gets colder, tape them back on. In theory, the bubbles can also serve as storage compartments for medicine, blood or liquid foods. So far, the Crew has only demonstrated the infusion, via syringe, of Kool-Aid into the clothes--a snappy way to jump on a seasonal color palette. (A quick tape job prevents messy leaks.)
"Using plastics is a learned behavior," says Howard. As for Lesson One: Don't let anyone deflate you with a hug.

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