My fantastical, fabulous friends! I am so excited for Kjersti Faret’s Everyday Fantasy Clothing Collection, which she just launched on Kickstarter earlier this month–and I think you will be, too! I have long been a fan of the fierce, joyous, tender oddball sensiblilities manifesting in her art, which explores fascinating facets of art history, queerness, and the occult (read more about this in a previous interview with Kjersti)
…and now we can WEAR some of this artful magic!
The “Everyday Fantasy: Clothing Collection” is inspired by medieval art and fantasy worlds but made for daily life. A dress, tunic, leggings and cincher belt – each piece has been thoughtfully designed by artist Kjersti Faret, the creator behind Cat Coven. The clothing is made in LA and is available for all genders in sizes small – 5XL. Right now the campaign is live on Kickstarter, which ends October 1st.
Read further for Kjersti’s insights regarding the inspiration and process for this marvelous, and I will insist –MUCH-NEEDED– collection, and get a peek at all of the magical pieces that will be available!
I love dressing up in fantastical clothing (think Renaissance Faire) but most of it is impractical for everyday life. I took the designs I love and made them to suit modern wardrobes while still feeling playful. Most fabric is made from a machine-washable blend of linen and rayon, and everything has POCKETS! Also, when I usually see a beautiful laced-up dress, they’re just a solid color and I wanted to make it more whimsical with the prints. I want my clothing to be fun!
I put a lot of humor in my work and the art that gets me excited are things filled with silliness. Medieval manuscripts are my number one all-time favorite inspiration since they’re serious religious texts with silly doodles in the margins. These monks are spending the majority of their time crafting these, and yet the margins are filled with pooping monkeys or nuns picking dicks off a tree. To me, those manuscripts are the physical embodiment of “don’t take life too seriously.”
The “Tapestry” fabric pattern was inspired by various medieval tapestries and the classic “mille fleur” (“thousand flowers”) pattern that was popular in the middle ages and early Renaissance. I created some of my own creatures to add into the pattern based on other forms of historical art like manuscripts as well. While coloring the design I tried to imagine I was a weaver and what would translate well to graphic shapes in a textile. That’s what helped me choose colors and shapes, to keep it as authentic as I could to the source material.
The patterns were drawn on multiple pieces of computer paper with microns. To make the pattern repeat you have to shuffle the squares around as you draw so all the edges meet. Once the ink part was done, I scanned and stitched it in photoshop and added the color digitally.
The “Armor” pattern was inspired by decorative etchings on armor. A lot of the armor I looked at was “costume” armor, or armor that was worn for ceremonial events and was way too fancy to have actually been worn out on a battlefield. There are so many good examples in the Met’s Arms and Armor exhibit. None of it is a copy from historical references – I created my own filigree swirls and put in creatures that are nods to existing beings or my own imaginings. If you take a close look at this pattern it’s like a weird “where’s Waldo?” game. Little witches, toads, faces, and boobies are hidden throughout.
Being an art history nerd, I also named each piece after some of my favorite artists.
The Leonora Belt is named after surrealist Leonora Carrington. I love her work so much and think she would have enjoyed the sphinxes in the screen printed design.
The Edvard tunic is named after my favorite expressionist, Edvard Munch who you will know as the artist behind The Scream. A secondary layer to the name is that it’s a nod to Edward Teach A.K.A. Blackbeard, because inspirations for the shirt came from “pirate shirts”. By that I mean, shirts pirates usually wear in movies and television shows. It’s got a loose flowy fit that goes perfect with a belt and of course, has pockets.
The Artemisia Leggings are named after Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who I just love and wanted to name something after her. The leggings are made from recycled water bottles. They also have “chito sante” (organic biomass from crab and shrimp shells AKA food waste) impregnated on the fabric, which gives it anti-bacterial and moisture wicking properties. Side pockets are perfect for cell phones.
The Gunhild dress is named after someone nobody will recognize because it’s my own grandmother. She was an artist and art teacher who passed away in 2020, partly due to Covid. Without her encouragement in my early years, I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.
I love this dress because it looks like a princess dress but it’s actually comfortable and there is a practicality to it – the laces in the back are adjustable. If you gain or lose a few inches, the dress can be adjusted to your shape. And of course, pockets!
The inclusive sizing was really important to me. Right now the range is from small to 5XL, but if I continue doing clothes like this in the future I’d like to expand it further. A lot of brands (both small and large) barely go beyond 3X (and a lot of times they aren’t even true plus size measurements). I looked at other true plus-size brands to make sure we got the measurements right. As a very small business, I understand how expensive it can get to grade so many sizes. But at a certain point (for larger companies) it becomes a conscious choice to exclude larger bodies.
When it comes to how clothes fit, I personally dread it when I gain or lose a few pounds over the years because then my favorite pieces become too tight or too baggy. Each piece in this collection is meant to be forgiving. The leggings are stretchy and the laces on the bottom give a little extra room in your calf if you want. The dress has adjustable lacing, as does the Leonora belt. The tunic has a flowy, loose shape that can be worn as is or cinched with a belt. So while the prices are more expensive, it’s because they are made of high-quality materials and fair labor and are made to evolve with your body.
This collection is really an ode to art history and the craftspeople that came before me. So many artisans throughout history were anonymous or just lost to time. Printmakers, etchers, weavers, embroiderers, woodcarvers, engravers – these and more are all crafts that inspire me and require much time and dedication to become a master. Some of these I’ve tried myself so I know the patience required and how tedious the processes can be. A big project like this couldn’t have been created without many hands. I had a great production team and factories in LA that helped make this collection a reality.
All the chainmaille in these photos is hand woven by It Is Known, a women-owned small business in NYC. Get 10% off on Itisknown.net with code COVENXKNOWN10 until October 1, 2022.