Through my fashion and textile practice I create totally absurd, theatrical garments inspired by puppetry, in order to bring my viewers and models into a world where they can relive childhood as an adult. In a mundane world the optics of theatricality and colorful resplendence encourage imagination--creating a projected sense of self and imaginative escape. My work creates an unexpected presence: an attempt to provoke an absurd connection between the pieces, wearers and viewers by walking the line between clothing and costume. My work is fuzzy and neon, with each garment emphasizing the wearer’s body in different ways. When contrasted with dull, matte fabrics such as neoprene and dyed denim fabrics such as high pile faux fur accent parts of the body, like the back, wrists, and legs. My garments also exhibit cartoon-like appliques such as large eyeballs, fuzzy eyebrows, and puppet-inspired armatures. These armatures include pull-strings to move something on the garment, long pieces of fabric attached to different parts of the body that move when the body moves, and literal puppet heads attached to sleeves which are operated by the wearer’s hands. In this collection, the sense of play frees the wearer and enables them to rediscover that sense of freedom through expression in these excessive outfits. I create an invitation to stumble into somewhere fun and childlike for a while as a reminder to not take life so seriously and to engage in the importance of play, perhaps reliving a small piece of childhood as an adult.
Zoë Schuttler is a fab fashion and textile artist based out of Massachusetts, currently residing with her three pugs and tons of fuzzy fabrics. She graduated with a BFA in fashion/textile design in Spring of 2019 at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine after debuting her collection Psychedelic Puppet Party, which featured six fantastic puppet-inspired garments. She works with colorful, outrageous colors and textures in order to engage her audience in a sense of play through fashion. With a long-standing love for puppetry and curiosity for how things work, Schuttler applies both to her garments, combining armatures from puppetry with psychedelic fashion design. She has studied Jim Henson’s Muppets for inspiration and humor while forming each garment in her groovy unique vision. Schuttler has won several awards for her work at the Maine College of Art, including the 2018 Merit Exhibition, in which she was awarded 4th Place for her far-out fashion installation.