New, Local Design on Display at cARTel

Madison-based designer Sam Lundsten debuted an exciting first look at his Earl Gray line at cARTel, a spring fashion and art show held at 100state on May 1.

Lundsten’s line featured long lines, sharp corners, and heavy, natural fabrics. The looks were utilitarian and stark, almost Orwellian, especially a square green wool skirt held up by leather suspenders worn over vintage white wool long underwear.

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An all-white pants and tunic ensemble would have been at home on a New York City runway, while a denim tunic version of the look would fit perfectly in the closet of any sharply-dressed Northwesterner or Midwesterner.

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Perhaps the most intriguing look from the Earl Gray line was a white dress made of sharp lines and deep v’s. The  dress scissored from a central axis point on each side, creating a lot of leg (and butt too). The dress would be a challenge for anyone with curves, but for the flat bodied, it’s beautiful. Paired with boots and socks as Lundsten styled it, the look is strong and tough and almost Nordic in aesthetic.

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The dress is 100 percent wool, cut from a 1940’s Czechoslovakian soldiers blanket that, according to the man who sold the blanket to Lundsten, was used in war time and saw live ammo combat from the protection of a hand-dug foxhole.

“The blanket did most of the work for me. I just had to not take too much away from it,” Lundsten said.

A second shirt dress, made of linen, carried the same long, simple lines as the other pieces along with fitted half-sleeves. It is both humble and elegant, as well as more wearable for everyday affairs than the white dress.

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“Humility was at the forefront when I think about the inspiration for this show. I was thinking a lot about a modern day peasant,” Lundsten said.  “Simple refined minimalistic lines and shapes with natural, available fabrics.”

“I want to make pieces for people who like a challenge.”

Photographer: Cory Peterson

Models:

  • Shirtdress: Madeline Elledge
  • Blanket dress/tote skirt: Jess Ploessl
  • Male designs: Alieu Camara

Follow @realearlgray on Instagram to keep up with Lundsten’s latest designs.

Rachel Keranen

Rachel Keranen

Rachel is a Madison-based writer who spent her childhood doodling clothing designs heavy on bell bottoms like a true child of the 90s. She's fascinated by how style impacts individuals and society, and she loves interviewing fashion entrepreneurs about their work.
Rachel Keranen

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