Submerged by Olivia Bergerson
Olivia Bergerson is a sophomore studying apparel design at the University of Minnesota. She is largely inspired by nature, crisp clean aesthetics, pastel tones, psychological concepts, and the behaviors of those close to her. As a designer she is futuristic, valuing creativity and growth. In her work, her inspiration is evident through the double meaning her pieces tend to hold. In the future, she hopes to move out of Minnesota and pursue design in a more enriching urban environment.
Submerged is Olivia’s most recent design inspired by Harriet Bart’s exhibition, Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection. The category of protection she chose to focus on for this piece is Found Objects: Transforming. Her concept is in relation to the unconscious state of the mind referred to as dreaming. It is common for people to experience dreams where they can’t run, speak, or breathe. This is considered a way in which the mind warns us about issues in our conscious lives. It is a subconscious way of protecting oneself, and warning about things that need improvement in order to transform life for the better.
In Submerged, Olivia focused on the inability to speak in her dreams. This represents feelings of not being heard or valued in conscious life, as well as troubles expressing oneself. When Olivia cannot speak in her dreams she feels trapped inside her body. The inability to vocalize is consuming. She represents this feeling of overwhelming consumption through the concept of being submerged in water. The silhouette of the dress resembles a large splash of water. The ruffles across the body represent the ripples in water. Throughout the garment crystals are used to represent the refraction of light that occurs when water moves. The look is made using bubble wrap, floral wire, industrial tarp, and crystals. These materials both frame the structure of the garments and give the specific drape and texture Olivia wanted to achieve. Overall, Olivia hopes the viewers comprehend the sense of claustrophobia and restraint she tried to create within her piece.
About the Design Showcase: During the spring 2020 semester, 10 emerging student designers were tasked with creating a one-of-a-kind garment using non-traditional materials and technology inspired by the exhibition Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection.
After eight weeks of material testing, sketching in the galleries, writing, and work-shopping their designs with local artisans Marina Shimelfarb, Charlie Wagner, and the artist herself, Harriet Bart, the final designs are nothing short of radical, innovative, and deeply personal.
The Seven Forms Student Design Showcase is presented in partnership with the UMN College of Design, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and Juut Salon Spa.