BREAKING THE CODE: Karlie Kloss and artist Shantell Martin have joined forces to empower coders.
The British artist has designed a limited-edition hoodie imprinted with various coding symbols that will benefit the nonprofit Kode With Klossy. The $52.50 item is being sold on the group’s site and all of the profits will go back to the organization. A spokeswoman for the project declined to specify how many units will be sold. While many recognize Kloss from her runway turns or role on “Project Runway,” others know her as an advocate for coding. Martin, who has known Kloss for a couple of years, is also deep into coding and technology. The pair connected through a mutual friend Casey Neistat.
“I remember the first time Karlie and I were talking years ago, we were talking about codes and all these things. Fast forward a few years, it just seems like a nice fit. I get to bring the art and creativity side into an area that I’m already invested in and that I have an interest in,” Martin said Wednesday.
The decision to team up was a no-brainer, according to Martin, whose background is in technology and coding. For the past seven years, she has taught graduate students at the Information Technology Communications Department of New York University. The multidisciplinarian was also a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. To play up the personal stories of female coders and debunk stereotypes, the campaign spotlights the various interests of each teenager featured in the campaign. The takeaway being that “beneath the hoodie they’re not all men in dark rooms.”
Gender parity in entry-level computer science jobs is expected to be reached by 2027, according to Girls Who Code, another group dedicated to encouraging girls to get into coding.
Martin said, “As with anything these days, it’s not about incorporating it into fashion. Fashion is just one industry. It’s about incorporating things in the world, in the space and in the mediums that we use today. We shouldn’t just leave things in one box. If something has a relevance, an importance and education, maybe that message is stronger and more impactful in a different medium or a different industry. And it brings people back to the core of where that’s coming from.”
She continued, “It’s important to share messages of impact, growth and education in as many areas as we can — be it fashion, art, technology or commerce in some ways. That’s where we have the biggest reach and the biggest impact.”
Professionally, Martin has had a sizable impact this year, especially in New York. At the beginning of the year she headlined the New York City Ballet’s Art Series, cast her art within and on the exterior of the David H. Koch Theater. Over the summer she used her signature black-and-white drawings for an ongoing installation that is meant to be “a space for contemplation and poetry” on Governor’s Island. Off to Los Angeles on Thursday, Martin said of her trip, “I’m working on the gallery show and I’m actually making music out there. So I’m actually taking a little bit of retreat.”
At the end of next month, she will open a gallery show at Band of Vices in Los Angeles. Next up will be this spring’s release of her book, “Lines,” which will feature an interview with Martin and Hans-Ulrich Obrist.