Arts / LGBTQ / Makerspaces / Technology

Leeway’s new Art and Technology grantee is creating gender-affirming garments

The Philly foundation's artist-in-residence will work on a line of wearable art through 2020 at makerspace NextFab.

The Darb Garb "Big Queer Ice Cream." (Photo via

Leeway Foundation, which funds women and trans artists, has again partnered with makerspace NextFab for their shared Art and Technology residency, this year featuring an artist making wearable, gender-affirming art.

The residency was initially established in 2012, but didn’t continue annually until last year, said Leeway Communications Director Brittnie Knight. The residency is offered to an artist whose work is aligned with trans inclusion and is a previous Leeway grantee.

The organization announced last month that the 2019 resident, artist Eppchez, will work on gender-affirming wearable art objects, also known as “Darb Garb,” for the next nine months at NextFab.

Eppchez was already working at NextFab and had previously received an Art and Change Grant when ey found out about the Art and Technology residency. Beginning in September, Eppchez will continue to work on a collection of designs including packers, prosthetics, face masks, garments, alterations, added pockets and more.

“There are various problems with clothes that people in the fashion industry and other folks don’t really see and care about,” Eppchez said. “It can be really hard to get dressed and feel good,” while gender-affirming wearable objects can help people feel comfortable in creating the silhouette they want or claim space for themselves.

Eppchez said ey are looking into wearable technology options to help with the development of some of the garments, like nanotechnology in textiles that could offer a solution for folks who need their clothes comfortably reshaped and other tech elements that could help the clothing shape the body.

Eppchez said it’s important that the garments ey make are affordable: “I’m committed to the mission of having these works be available to whoever needs them,” the artist said.

The residency will run through May 2020, and includes nine months of membership to NextFab and a stipend of $2,500. Eppchez will also host a workshop, an artist’s talk and work collaboratively with other artists and folks in the community.

Companies: NextFab

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