In celebration of the exhibition Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love and Black History Month, the Kelly Initiative and the de Young paired up to invite creatives across fields to share a sketch inspired by Kelly and his designs. Here, Kibwe Chase-Marshall, cofounder of the Kelly Initiative, speaks with apparel designer Jenny Hong about her sketch and Kelly’s legacy.
Tell us about the medium you selected to create your sketch; what informed that decision?
I chose to use pencil and gouache; it’s the medium that I use for many of the illustrations I do. I used gouache when I studied at Parsons, but now I treat it a bit more like watercolor.
Describe the garments you chose to sketch; does your sketch depict an archival Kelly piece, an evolution of one of his signature looks, or a creation that is purely of your own design?
My boyfriend and I were throwing out ideas regarding what I should paint. Normally, I would have picked some image of Patrick Kelly’s work—like a runway look—to illustrate, but I decided that I wanted to paint him instead. I added some of his quirkiness by making the figure’s face one of his buttons.
Describe your relationship with the enduring legacy of Patrick Kelly; what have Mr. Kelly’s style and story meant to you?
Our relationship has just started through this project! The playful vibe that exudes from his work is what I gravitate to the most.
Apparel designer Jenny Hong’s creativity knows no bounds. Her impressive roster of design clients (Proenza Schouler, Anthropologie, Anaak) reflects her extensive knowledge of tailoring and fabric manipulation, while her Instagram-chronicled riffs on traditional Korean baked sweets speak to a budding culinary mastery. Having worked for most of her career within New York’s corporate design spaces, her relocation to Portland, Oregon, in 2019 immersed her in a uniquely local “maker” community that she finds endlessly inspiring. @StripedStripes
Kibwe Chase-Marshall cut his professional teeth as an apparel designer, working within the studios of some of 7th Avenue's most influential brands (Michael Kors, Isaac Mizrahi, Gap Inc.), before carving out a space in the editorial community as a contributing writer and market editor (Town & Country, Paper, Elle.com). Since 2018, he has diligently operated as an equity advocate, most recently cofounding the Kelly Initiative, a four-point, industry-evolving plan to increase access to opportunities for Black fashion professionals. @byanyseamnecessary
Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love is on view at the de Young museum from October 23, 2021 to April 24, 2022.