Don Pezzano Turns Discarded Paintings Into Wearable Artworks

Don Pezzano Turns Discarded Paintings Into Wearable Artworks
Apparition jackets by Don Pezzano
(Don Pezzano)

Australian menswear designer and jeweller Don Pezzano has taken the concept of wearable art to a whole new level with his newly released Apparition Collection jackets which are works of art — both literally and figuratively. 

The idea for the Apparition jackets was born when Pezzano came across several huge, half-finished canvas paintings on the side of the road that had been discarded by a local artist. “In a flash, I knew exactly what those canvases should be,” Pezzano remembers. “A frenzy of washing and savage cutting reduced them to a pile of pieces, only to emerge a week or so later as four jackets. Four sizes, four unique never-to-be-repeated jackets.”

As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” — or in the case of Pezzano, “one artist’s failures are another artist’s triumph.”  Using the haunting half-there imagery and the grungy texture of the canvas to full effect, Pezzano re-imagined the abandoned paintings as wearable works of art.

“The images were so moving and mysterious — they appealed to me because they were curious and strange,” Pezzano says. “I wondered who painted them and why. They were also fascinatingly beautiful; I could have hung them on my wall.”

For Pezzano, the instant appeal was the rich blacks and stormy grey colours featured in the paintings. Once he unfolded them, he was fascinated with the ghost-like images which were at once creepy and beautiful. “Once I washed them they took on another appearance — the images became softer and mottled, which added even more of a patina to the canvases,” he recalls.

Still unsure of who painted the canvases, Pezzano continues to imagine what the artist was like. “Who was the artist? Why did he create these big mysterious paintings? Why were they discarded? That fascinates me,” says Pezzano. “That fascinates people who are drawn to my clothing too,” he adds. 

As a “counter” to the found and grungy material, Pezzano created a pattern that was formal — for him at least — and very tailored. He used French and covered seams throughout the jackets (although one is completely “raw” and should age differently).  “On pieces like this, regular store-bought buttons just don't cut it,” Pezzano says. As a result he has been making his own buttons from discarded leather which provided the perfect finishing touch for these jackets.

Found materials have an inherent charm that can never be replicated. Pezzano believes that the use of reclaimed materials is the pinnacle of sustainable fashion because nothing is being made.  “I like that the fabric was found and has a unique history, he says. “I like that they are one-off, hand-made, and come with a deep sense of mystery. For me, these jackets represent everything I see as important when it comes to creating clothes.”