May 2013 Letter from the editor

AC May2013.inddThis edition of The Arts Paper explores the fashion scene here in New Haven and beyond. Hank Hoffman’s Artists Next Door feature, which is complemented by Harold Shapiro’s photographs, introduces us to Neville Wisdom, who began designing and creating clothes in his native Jamaica in the 1990s. Hank quotes Wisdom as saying, “My parents weren’t able to afford to buy me cool clothes. I decided the only way to fix that would be to make my own.” Hank writes that the recent relocation of Wisdom’s Orange Street boutique from the city’s Westville neighborhood “has brought him heightened visibility, including a mention in The New York Times.

Courtney McCarroll has contributed to this edition of The Arts Paper a feature story about how local fashion designers and connoisseurs have bolstered the city’s creative spirit. In her article, Courtney tells us about a job she had at Elle magazine and, in doing so, evokes memories of Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. For her article, Courtney talked with Teresa LaBarbera, the host of WTNH’s Connecticut Style, about the role the media plays in defining New Haven’s creative identity. Courtney also spoke with John Bradley, executive director of Liberty Community Services, about his organization’s annual Project Style fundraiser, and she spent time with Creative Arts Workshop instructor Phillip Alexander, who recently moved to New Haven after 20 years in New York’s fashion industry.

My contributions to this edition of The Arts Paper include a feature story about costume design, for which I interviewed Long Wharf Theatre costume design assistant Cathy Mason, Elm City Shakespeare costume designer Elizabeth Bolster, Southern Connecticut State University theater department chairman John Carver Sullivan, and A Broken Umbrella Theatre costume designer Jacy Barber, who’s currently working (from her new home in Washington, D.C.) on the company’s upcoming production, Freewheelers. I also included an interview I did, for my animal-rights blog The Daily Maul, with vegan fashion designer Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, who recently presented a collection from her Brooklyn, New York-based company Vaute Couture at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

This edition of The Arts Paper also includes a photo essay by local photographer Gale Zucker, Arts Council communications manager Amanda May’s review of the documentary film Bill Cunningham New York, and a list of five more fashion-related films that we recommend.

We hope you enjoy our exploration of New Haven’s fashion scene and respond to these stories and others at


David Brensilver

Editor, The Arts Paper


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