Unwearable Apparel: The Femme Series

In this exhibit “Unwearable Apparel: The Femme Series,” Margaret Chodos-Irvine interprets the emotional language she sees contained within familiar feminine garment forms. Referencing vintage sewing patterns and 20th century clothing, she has altered the usual lay-out of garment parts: arms connect or constrict; skirts knot or join together; bodices expand into tents. The resulting unwearable garments are built by Margaret from whole cloth, each constructed to tell a story and/or ask a question. In viewing this work, you are invited to consider your own perspectives through the medium of women’s dress. 

Artist Statement

Clothing is our human-made exoskeleton. Besides functioning as a protective layer, it reflects how we see ourselves, and how we choose to be seen by others. Within each of our cultures we grow up learning this language of apparel. I enjoy using that language to reflect our own stories back to us. 


Seattle artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine worked for many years as a printmaker and professional illustrator. Designing and making clothing was her creative refuge.

Now Margaret uses the skills she learned while working with patterns and fabric to construct conceptual art based on familiar apparel forms. Garments are essential parts of our physical, and psychological, wardrobe. Margaret’s work explores what happens when you alter those forms, not to change the style or fit, but to change what they say to us about ourselves.