SLUG Style: FICE X UMOCA – The Limited Collaboration Uplifting Artistic Communities
The relationship between art and fashion has stood the test of time as they have continuously worked in tandem to create a more robust culture. Fashion allows art to be approached and consumed outside of traditionally elitist spaces, and art inspires fashion to explore the boundaries of self-expression. Each informs the other as they evolve throughout history. Salt Lake’s artistic community is filled with brilliant galleries and unique fashion brands, and two of the leading voices in the industry are the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) and FICE Gallery. In the true spirit of their harmonious existence, FICE and UMOCA have collaborated on a limited-capsule clothing line, which we explore in this special edition of “SLUG Style.”
For 12 years, FICE has held art shows in their chic space Downtown, and while being a gallery remains the foundation of their brand, fashion became an integral piece to the FICE legacy. “We quickly learned that retail was necessary to support our vision, so we shifted gears to offer more clothing, shoes, etc.,” says owner Corey Bullough. The boutique stocks a variety of novelty items from retro Nike sneakers to FICE’s own house brand, which includes hoodies, T-shirts and masks.
While FICE has experience making and selling unique clothing, this will be UMOCA’s first merchandise collaboration. Cass Hallacker-Covaleski, who serves on UMOCA’s Board of Trustees and is the Chair of the Marketing Committee, says the decision to team up with FICE came naturally. “I’ve admired FICE from afar for a while,” Hallacker-Covaleski says. “When I joined the board in August and began to identify potential collaborations that aligned with our mission, FICE was admittedly at the top of the list.”
“We think these collaborations will … introduce us to a new audience that can really appreciate all that UMOCA does and wants to do in the future.”
Together, the pair designed a collaboration that uplifts the intersection of art, fashion and culture while exploring the “drop” movement in merchandise—that is, when a brand or store provides a limited release of merchandise in a small window. “Art, as defined by each individual, has of course inspired fashion houses, designers and collections from the beginning—I would go so far as to say that the reverse is happening—and it’s all just very interesting and exciting, specifically when we look at the merch and ‘drop’ phenomenon,” Hallacker-Covaleski says.
In addition to celebrating fashion’s and art’s enduring influence on each other, the clothing line is also an opportunity to invite new audiences into artistic spaces. “Art can be intimidating, but we want to tap into the idea that art is part of everything we do, and it’s personal and can be more approachable,” Hallacker-Covaleski says. “We think these collaborations will show that and introduce us to a new audience that can really appreciate all that UMOCA does and wants to do in the future.” By creating new partnerships, FICE and UMOCA hope to become a source of support and inspiration for our local art community.
The limited collaboration is a collection of casual items that can be worn every day, and include a hoodie, T-shirt and two tote bags. The all-black fabric is adorned with simple, clean font reading “UMOCA X FICE GALLERY” and “CHANGE FROM THE GIFT SHOP.” A single graphic replaces the “O” in UMOCA and catches the eye with its intricate design. “The graphic is the state of Utah repeated five times, representing change,” Bollough says, “a reference to both UMOCA’s and FICE’s mutual mission to drive change in our respected communities through the ‘power of art of our time.’” The overall aesthetic is minimalist yet impactful, staying true to FICE’s contemporary approach to fashion.
“Art, as defined by each individual, has of course inspired fashion houses, designers and collections from the beginning.”
The line marks a special time in history for us as a community, and will be available until the limited stock is gone. “It’s a limited capsule, and once it’s gone, we want to be careful to leave it as a special thing that happened and move forward,” says Covaleski. Readers can purchase items and support the two entities at UMOCA’s newly remodeled art shop. FICE is also stocking the collection at their storefront and online shop, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated toward buying art supplies for the VOA’s Homeless Youth Resource Center.
Artistic communities coming together to forge new pathways for inspiration make a powerful impact on our society, and serve as a reminder that positive things are still happening. UMOCA is using the collaboration to inform future partnerships with artists around the city and to strengthen Utah’s flourishing creative community. “If we share a vision for diversity, inclusion, resource orientation, etc., we can do big, more thoughtful things … together,” Hallacker-Covaleski says. FICE also plans to create more limited collaborations with local artists, including their most recent project with Justin Grant (@justingrantart).
Keep up with UMOCA by following their Instagram @utahmoca or visiting their site, utahmoca.org, and visit the museum gift shop to purchase the collection Wednesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Follow the happenings at FICE @ficegallery, view their site at ficegallery.com, and visit their storefront or online shop to support their limited collaborations with artists around the city.