Free Ego Presents New Fashion Line at The Lab Pop-Up Gallery on Pheonix's Grand Avenue
Janessa Hilliard Brian Cresson, a.k.a. Free Ego, presents his new line, Struggle, this weekend at The Lab on Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix.
If it weren't for those three-digit summers known to sweat out even the toughest of Phoenicians, Brian Cresson may never have taken the plunge into fashion.
The 30-year-old multimedia artist moved to Sedona from Chicago, Illinois, in 2004. But it wasn't until his relocation to downtown Phoenix two and a half years ago that he began actively creating art, quitting his job to open a gallery at this live-work space at Garfield Galleria. Then one day, things changed.
"It was my first summer in downtown Phoenix which was really, really hot. I started cutting the sleeves off my t-shirts, making them into tank tops and my jeans into shorts," he says. "I thought, 'Oh, I should do like a logo for the studio and paint it on my shirt.' So people would know I'm for real and rep it around town."
He made a stencil and found some fabric paint at Arizona Art Supply and began stenciling his brand name, Alter Ego Studio, on his clothing.
That translated into a larger, eye-catching experiment with designs on the fronts of those shirts. He posted an image to his Facebook account and by the second day he had a dozen requests for clothing.
"I've always been into clothing. Everything came together where I was making stuff for myself and other people wanted it," he says. "I wasn't creating something for someone [else], so it was a cool feeling that I could make what I wanted and [still] sell it."
Now Free Ego, Cresson has designed four unique styles for his fashion re-boot at The Lab Pop-Up Gallery on 1022 West Grand Avenue. "Free Ego presents Struggle: An original clothing brand launch, theatrical performance, fashion show and reception" marks a new movement for Cresson, both professionally and personally.
"I guess it's called 'Struggle' because it's been such a struggle for me getting to this point," he says. "I'm not just walking in here deciding I want to make clothing, it's been night and day for years."
The two-night show, Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, is not the traditional take on a runway. Each night begins with a reception at 7 p.m. followed by a theatrical performance and ends with the debut of four designs. It's a full-blown launch and art show, transcending the pose-pout-turn that has come to be expected on the catwalk.
The T-shirt-centric line contains four individual pieces, all of which will be sold at The Lab for $25 to $35 following the performance. The designs range from a tee proclaiming "Death Valley" with an upside down saguaro which doubles as an inverted cross ("I like to play with things that people take so seriously," he says) to a smiley face with the verbage "Make You Cry" surrounding it. He's inspired by Los Angeles street fashion, he says, citing boutiques like UNIF and Dolls Kill as inspiration due to their dark, controversial designs -- often also steeped in religious undertones.
But he'd rather be called an artist than a fashion designer, which is why this runway show is something different.