Ashley Gehman, Anthropologie
Gehman is another example of the young designers for whom DesignPhiladelphia was, well, designed: Even before the 31-year-old parlayed her 2007 industrial design degree from the University of the Arts into a job with Anthropologie, she’d started Salon What What, a 12-member collective of artists and designers who work together on large-scale multi-disciplinary installations or other projects throughout the city. Last summer the group conceived and staged the 100-Mile Pie Project, in which they used only ingredients from within 100 miles of Philadelphia in ever more complex configurations, from simply shopping at Whole Foods to building a brick oven underground. Gehman also teaches at the University of the Arts, and for the first time this year is involved in DesignPhiladelphia.
Best known for: Her socially responsible fashion show in the summer of 2007, featuring 35 designers using sustainable materials and fair-trade practices.
What she’s doing this year: “I’m targeting two audiences with the idea of renew/reuse,” Gehman says. First, she’s refashioning her eco runway show, So Re Fa, for (relatively) haute couture with Ali McCloud at NoLibs’ Arcadia Boutique. Then, along with the Philadelphia Sewing Collective, she’s hosting Philly’s first Swap-o-Rama-Rama: You bring an old skirt, stained shirt or unraveling sweater to the Old Pine Community Center, and pick one of several stations at which to repurpose it with the help of a skilled seamstress, screen-printer, knitter or detailer. So Fa Ra, October 21st, 7 p.m. 819 North 2nd Street. Swap-o-Rama-Rama, October 19th, noon to 5 p.m. Old Pine Community Center, 401 Lombard Street.