From May 22 to July 10, MAD presents Beyond the Garment District: Perspectives on Craft and Technique in New York-Made Fashion, a series of four programs featuring some of New York's most innovative and avant-garde fashion designers. Moderated by Jeremy Lewis, founder and editor of the fashion zine Garmento, the series considers practical as well as conceptual implications of contemporary clothes making, as mass consumption and production continue to take a deep environmental and human toll.

"The humanistic appeal of a garment sharply contradicts the mass-industrialization of the fashion industry, even in the luxury market. It is strange how out of all the things we make, clothes are the most personal yet the realities of their origins and end use are perhaps the most detached," says Lewis. "In the face of factory collapses and slave labor, one must question the role of people and clothes not as commodities but as crafted objects. As fashion scrambles to rediscover its exclusive appeal and as consumers become increasingly aware of the grim realities behind such clothes, this series hopes to define a new value, a new way to consider clothes and engage designers who are actively challenging how fashion is made and consequently designed here in New York City."

Museum visitors will hear from Koos Van Den Akker, who came of age when folk traditions and home crafts were a huge influence in fashion, and who is popularly known for his sweater designs as worn by Bill Cosby in his '80s-'90s sitcom; Mary Ping, who embraces the anthropological as well as aesthetic facets of fashion in her unconventional label Slow and Steady Wins the Race; Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, the design team whose conceptual collections combine the homemade with contemporary materials and fabrications in radical ways; and Andre Walker, whose ingenious ideas on construction and materials have influenced many major designers.

"As the production of garments within NYC has spread out from the garment district and into new approaches and atelier practices throughout the city, emergent and exciting designers and works have appeared on the scene," says Jake Yuzna, MAD's Director of Public Programs. "This program brings together some of the best examples of adaptability and talent in NYC's fashion community to explore not only the design of fashion, but also what it really means to make it in NYC today."

Beyond the Garment District: Perspectives on Craft and Technique in New York-Made Fashion is organized by Jake Yuzna, Director of Public Programs. Moderator Jeremy Lewis founded Garmento, the semiannual fashion zine printed and published out of New York, in 2010. Each issue addresses different themes, such as "Futurism" and "The Outsiders," drawing inspiration from contemporary and historical fashion.

All programs are free and take place in The Theater at MAD.

For more information about the series, visit

Koos Van Den Akker
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 7pm
An American fashion legend, Dutch-born and French-trained Koos Van Den Akker has been designing couture-caliber clothes over the last 40 years. Emerging at a time when folk traditions and home crafts were a huge influence in fashion, he made a name for himself as the master of couture collage. A rich panoply of color and pattern painstakingly pieced together, his designs have provided inspiration for fashion tastemakers like Nicolas Ghesquière, though they are known more popularly as worn by actor and comedian Bill Cosby on the hit sitcom The Cosby Show. Representing one of the highest level of clothes-making possible in New York City, Koos Van Den Akker's operation is a true couture atelier, endless in its technical feats and creativity.