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EARTHLY DELIGHTS: Fast Retailing’s Innovation Center in New York just got a creative boost.

Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer and founder of Theory and group senior vice president of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., has spearheaded a collaboration with the School of Visual Arts in New York and Red Hook Labs in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to showcase an exclusive series of four photography installations throughout the year representing each of the earth elements: Water, Air, Fire and Earth.

Exhibited in the lobby of Fast Retailing’s Innovation Center at 2 Gansevoort Street in New York over the course of the coming year, the images were created by students of the MPS Fashion Photography program of SVA – the only graduate program for fashion photographers in the U.S. — assisted by students of the Labs Youth Center Program under the guidance of Red Hook Labs founder Jimmy Moffat.

Theory, Helmut Lang and Uniqlo share the Innovation Center, which houses the companies’ design and production.

Along with the exhibitions, Fast Retailing has endowed a scholarship for one student from the SVA MPS Fashion Photography Class of 2018 and will make a donation to support Red Hook Labs’ community programs.

The focus of the first exhibition is “Water.” Student artists Alex Black, Marion Aguas, Tamara Hansen and Weisi Dai have used water as their inspiration and incorporated garments from Fast Retailing brands Theory, Helmut Lang and Uniqlo into their photography. The Water exhibition opens on Feb. 21, and will stay on view until June when the next exhibit will open. The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For Rosen, who has always been an advocate of young talent, and Fast Retailing, “it made perfect sense to partner with these like-minded organizations that share our spirit of innovation and creativity to beautify the lobby space for the center which opened last year, and to create a compelling exhibition program that tells a story of imagination, education and opportunity,” said a Theory spokeswoman.

According to Moffat, the idea came from Rosen, who wanted artwork for the new lobby of the Innovation Center. “Why don’t we create original work for your lobby,” suggested Moffat. Sixteen photographs were created as part of the Water-themed exhibition. In one photograph, for example, the photographer took clothes and froze them in ice sculptures to look like mountains and put smoke machines in front of it to resemble Chinese landscapes. In another, two models are photographed without clothes and the photographer moved fabric up and down at a slow shutter speed.

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