Melissa Lockwood

by Sherif Awad

Melissa Lockwood

I am Melissa Lockwood a Brooklyn, NY based Artist/Environmental Activist. I made all the garments show in the photos and I made them with fabrics fashion designers threw away. My answers explain why i use these discarded materials.

My family is Scottish American, My parents, human rights activist, I believe in equality and freedom of expression.  I attended an elementary school called Open Spaces where the teachers adjusted to the students needs and encouraged self acceptance and individuality.  I grew up loving animals and my first fashion creation was based on historical drawing of local indigenous costume.  I made my self a complete outfit of to wear in protest of colonization at a 1976/1776 parade.  I was supported emotionally as an artist by my family.

I started as a child, my mother provided me with sheets of blank paper to draw on, never a pre-made coloring book.  I started performing as a child, my best friend and I would make musicals of movies and albums and perform for our neighbors.  I was an artist in shows at eight years-old.   

-As a teen read all the French Symbolism poets, all of Arthur Rimbaud’s work.   I spent an entire summer reading all of Ingmar Bergman’s scripts, somehow the library near my fathers house has a whole long section of merman scrips in spiral note binders.  It was amazing.   My father was a bit worried about me, saying; “go outside its summer”  I sat each day reading script after script.  I hadn’t seen and of the films.

-I just was given materials and tools with no instruction as a kid, no pressure no expectation, no judgement, neutral reception.  I'm feeling of being myself was the theme.  I was told it's ok to be yourself, make things express yourself, so long as you don’t hurt anyone , then it's ok and you being yourself, who you are born to be.

-It is satisfying to create things now.  I am making things to help the earth inhabitants, the earth atmosphere and water sources.  As an Artist and Environmentalist I am creating wearable garments with what fashion designers historically have polluted the world with.  I create with fabrics that designers throw away. 

Melissa Lockwood

-I am working to inspire fashion designers to use the fabric they usually throw away during mass production.  It has been challenging to get people in factories to try it out.  The reasoning has been short-sighted on the designers part. I have been told by designers, I can’t introduce that into my production because things are planned out so far in advance.  Well his doesn’t make sense because designing things into the waste areas of fabric can be introduced at anytime and generate additional income and do the environment a good dead.

Melissa Lockwood

-I think it is having ingenuity and also disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic that is happening.   I worked on a three person remote team where I am sheltering in place to create a commercial video and a photo campaign for a high-end bedding manufacturer.  We created a set for them, and by chance had a model sheltering here too.  So we were able to do a product shoot, a video commercial and an inset product editorial.  This went really well and demonstrated how NYC directors were able to work with a crew in the western USA remotely to create the ads.

-I love having exhibits, I had one recently at RISD Center for Complexity, I showed COVID-19 Clothing I made during the Quarantine and sheltering in place.  I find exhibitions really an important part of being an artist.

-I dive right in new projects, I find my thoughts and feelings and I let those and the materials speak, I observe and respect my experiences and feelings.  i don’t judge what I do, I remain supportive of my honesty and express what I do trust it to be a valid expression based on my sensitivity to myself and a respect for the viewer/experiencer.

Melissa Lockwood

-I believe my healing oriented performance work is probably my greatest achievement because I have created it with an audience with my message of since I am able to overcome these traumas you can too.  I experienced some traumatic things in life and I used performance as a healing mechanism.  I made an MA and MFA published thesis about a nine step healing through performance process books.  They are not really manuals, they show a book format demonstration of the process.  

-I exercise, dance, swim and have a deep connection with nature.  I am an environmental artist and its because I love the earth and all its inhabitants.  I love to see birds flying, ants working, clear sky and running waters.  I like to ride horses and swim in the ocean.  Looking at the stars at night is nice too.

-For newcomers, I say: be yourself be kind, forget about competition, support and work with others.  I can in contact with a lot of competitive people, I ignored them and stayed true to my own ideas, trusting itself and other supportive positive people to work with, and we would leave the people focused on completion behind in the dust.

-I spend time with people and alone to balance myself.  I find that I love to be with people and that its also important to be able to enjoy time alone to explore interests that might not be nurtured if one doesn’t take time for self-love and exploration.  

-I am currently working on a collection of clothing made from factory waste fabrics, this will be shown online as part of an environmentalist Fashion show. In addition, I am designing a jacket that incorporate the use the fabric between the normal pattern areas, the fabric that is usually thrown away.  I have developed a method to use the in-between parts to create dresses.  This is an example of how mass-producing designers can start to introduce the use of the remnant shapes they usually throw away.  I work to share my experience the use of these not usually used fabrics with the fashion industry to help them create less pollution.