While the holiday season calls for celebration, artists Raffaella Hanley, Carol Civre and Will Sheldon want to remind you to stay sustainable. According to the National Environment Education Foundation, Americans discard of 25% more waste during the holiday season, which nets out to one million extra tons of garbage each week. Since founding Lou Dallas in 2013, Hanley has committed herself to building collections on a sustainable framework, incorporating most of her materials using sourced surplus fabric found in warehouses, from donations or leftover upholstery.
For almost seven years, Hanley has been designing clothes out her Brooklyn apartment. Partially named after Bruce Willis' character from The Fifth Element, her brand has become recognizable for its signature twisted, romantic-punk style. "Lou Dallas is the accent piece for the wardrobe you already have," she says, creating clothing to transport you to a time period that hasn't yet happened.
Photographed by James Emmerman for PAPER, Hanley's newest pieces are featured in collaboration with Sheldon and Civre. Sheldon, a tattoo artist at NYC's Fun City, met Hanley when she showed up at his show at Cleopatra's Gallery. Civre met Hanley on Instagram, she says, "Where I seem to meet most people these days."
The trio's work is featured here as a reminder of excess during the holidays, from the heaps of material in a Black Friday bundle, to the amount of gifts regifted or left in the trash. Inspired by Christmas elves, Macy's Department store window displays and the flowers, fairies and fabrics of Will Sheldon's illustrations, Lou Dallas invites you to shop sustainably and responsibly. "We wanted to create something fun and festive, while touching on an important topic," Civre says.
PAPER sat down with the three collaborators to talk about inspiration, the holidays and 2020.
All clothing: Lou Dallas
Do you have an early childhood memory that stands out as being especially formative in influencing your style?
Raffaella Hanley: Watching the 5th Element for the first time!
How did you incorporate Will Sheldon's art into the new pieces?
Raffaella: I usually give Will a mood board and he comes back to me with sketches and we go from there. Will's work has either been silk screened or airbrushed onto the garments.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Carol Civre: I try really hard to make digital work that doesn't look digital. I think it's really easy to fall into an internet aesthetic when working in 3D because of the shiny materials and futuristic graphics — and there's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't for me. I draw more of my inspiration from art forms like oil painting, photography, even airbrushed illustrations rather than from computer graphics. So I guess my artistic style is CGI with a more DIY/organic feel to it.
Raffaella: I've been cutting up silk screen T-shirts that Will and I did maybe 2 years ago, and sewing them into a variety of different styles and incorporating other scrap fabric I have.
Will Sheldon: Flowers, fairies, witches, houses, trees, eyes, fabric.
How do you feel about the holidays?
Raffaella: I can't wait to listen to "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and be totally in-season.
Carol: I like that people put up really kitsch decorations and everyone considers it totally normal and acceptable. My mom made an entirely pink Christmas tree this year.
All clothing: Lou Dallas
What is the best gift you've ever received?
Raffaella: My grandfather gave me an Anthony Van Dyck etching, which is a portrait of the artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, who my parents named me after.
Carol: A ticket to the Westminster Dog Show for my 23rd birthday.
What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
Raffaella: Creating new work.
Carol: Throwing a murder mystery party. It takes place in the fashion industry.
All clothing: Lou Dallas
About the artists:
After studying painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, Raffaella Hanley quickly realized that her interests lie in acetates, not acrylics. She soon began to pour her creative energy into assisting fellow RISD alum Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta to launch Eckhaus Latta's first collection. Hanley was nominated as a finalist for the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, where she showcased her work
Carol Civre found herself on her current path in a roundabout way. She majored in Fine Arts at NYU Steinhardt, where she studied everything from printmaking to woodworking and SFX makeup. For Civre, a senior-year excursion into digital engineering cemented her interest in 3D design, and for the past several years she has been honing her skills, working on projects for Crocs, Opening Ceremony and Helmut Lang.
Will Sheldon is an artist based in NYC. He initially started tattooing to make money so he could practice music. He first practiced on himself before he began tattooing others professionally.