New Exhibit Combines Fashion and Paintings

Three artists are merging fashion with traditional paintings in an exhibit with works that promote sustainability by using found materials. These works are featured in an exhibit titled Coalesce which is being displayed inside the UNT Union Art Gallery from Jan. 16 through Jan. 25. With the aim of displaying how fashion and art are interconnected, works by fashion designers Lauren Grey and Marina Girgis will be shown alongside oil paintings by Claire Watkins.

“When we are creating fashion garments we have to go through a similar process as other traditional artists,” Girgis said. “We research our inspirations, we sketch a dozen times and then we create prototypes to represent those ideas.”


There's a variety of media that can be used in the construction of garments, and beneath the surface impressions of fashion there lurks expression. Coalesce offers viewers a chance to reflect on the inner art within each piece.

“Fast fashion has taken away our ability to think of fashion as anything more than a consumer product that gets tossed away,” Girgis said, “But what if we looked at fashion the same way we looked at paintings? Would we toss it away?”

This diverse art space enables students a refreshing experience where garments can be viewed as something more than the basic functionality of clothing. In between the fashion constructs, the paintings by Watkins add a visual pop for students to relish during their pass throughs.

Girgis said that what makes this exhibit unique is the fact that they are all independent artists that can come up with an idea on a random night and execute it together in a harmonious manner. She believes collaborations are the future of the fashion industry and for traditional artists as well.

“After we finished setting everything up, we all had an aha! moment,” Girgis said “We were so proud of how we have overcome challenges of displaying specific pieces, and how we created a color story through our curation of the paintings next to certain garments.”

Coalesce is the first exhibit of the 2018 spring semester for the Union Gallery at UNT. Viewing is available from Jan. 16 through Jan. 26 with a closing reception on Jan. 25. The gallery is located on the second floor of the UNT Student Union across from The Syndicate. For more information visit the Facebook event page.

Featured Artists:

Claire Watkins
Watkins is a junior painting and drawing student who uses oil paintings of bold colors often referencing the experience of mental illness. 

Marina Girgis
Girgis is a senior fashion design student who uses travel experiences, surreal artists and abstract artists to influence her material. 

Lauren Gray

Gray is a senior double major in fashion design and fibers. She draws inspiration from abstract and kinetic artists while striving to use scrap materials for her works. 


Photos and video by Josh Wilbourn
Header image layout designed by Mateo Granados