Refinery 29 Creates Fashion Week Funhouse

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their fashion and lifestyle online publication, Refinery 29 put together an interactive funhouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, called appropriately “29 Rooms.” A massive warehouse was outfitted with themed rooms featuring different artwork, videos and workshops. Each room is designed in collaboration with a fashionable brand or artist and many also offered a positive message.

Monica Villa making an interactive flipbook in the Minnie Mouse Style room.
Monica Villa twirling and dancing in the “Minnie Style” room.

Monica Villa, 28, of Bergen County, NJ, reads Refinery 29 for her daily dose of news with a twist: “I enjoy it because it has a feminist perspective, which you don’t see a lot of.” She came to Brooklyn to see the house because it was a way for her to attend a Fashion Week event for free. Her favorite room? “I’m an actress so I love to see theatrical elements, like the drive-in movie room,” says Villa. The room is set up as a drive-in cinema in the middle of the desert, showcasing short films on a projector screen in the dark. There is a rotation of seven shorts, all created by “trailblazing female directors,” according to Refinery 29.

There were a number of guests who came specifically to see the installation by controversial photographer and designer Petra Collins. Titled “The Girls’ Room,” it is set up as a pink bathroom, complete with a steaming bathtub full of water, a shelf overflowing with beauty products, and a video addressing how teenage girls struggle with identity, body image and personal demons. “The art part is what makes Fashion Week really interesting and accessible,” says Angela Dimaynga, 29, of New York City. “It’s about more than just showing off a piece of clothing on a runway. Fashion is being portrayed in creative presentations that make a statement about our culture.”

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Shoes decorate the ceiling in the “Make A Pledge” room.

All 29 rooms include affirmations of positive body images and encouraging people to achieve their goals. Some of the room titles alone showcase Refinery 29’s dedication to putting a positive spin on Fashion Week, such as “Beauty Beyond Size” and “Vote Your Values.” The “Read My Lips” room in collaboration with makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury allows guests to try on samples of red lipstick and leave a colored kiss on the red mirrored walls. The plaque outside the room reads, “It’s what you say with your lips, not the color of them, that leaves your mark.”

Published in NYU Magazine 11/19/15

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