Photo: VONDRE CLARK
Bradley Hill models Forlorn Moon by Stew Frick.
Clothes tell a story, often about the person wearing them, who they are, where they came from, and even what they believe in. In the case of Forlorn Moon
, a new clothing line by Pittsburgh artist and designer Stew Frick
, the story is more literal.
The collection of hand-painted jackets, jeans, sneakers, and other items is described in a release as "depicting the story of a particularly sad Moon who feels alone and unsure of their place in the sky, but without any motivation or desire to change its present circumstances." Even visits from friends in the form of other planets do nothing to lift Moon's mood.
"While simple and short, the story speaks to the difficulty with both the feeling of sadness and also being oddly comfortable with these feelings," reads the description. "It is unclear whether the Moon wants to be happy or not."
The narrative-driven line continues Frick's commitment to crafting one-of-a-kind clothing, a practice they have pursued since 2016 and say they "love dearly." This includes launching Sweet Tooth Customization
, another brand focused on functional, wearable artwork.
Frick says they see fashion as a canvas to create "multi-faceted pieces of art covering multiple creative fields, combining traditional filigree patterning, short story writing, and landscape painting," all elements they say are present in the Forlorn Moon brand.
“Forlorn Moon is the culmination of many years of product design, materials testing, and most importantly, creation of mini-stories that can still pack a punch while being condensed onto a piece of clothing," says Frick.
They go on to say that Forlorn Moon "aims to consider, in a whimsical fashion, the nature of loneliness and unwillingness to change one's circumstances, even if the 'obvious solution' may be knocking at one's door."
"While not a particularly healthy tendency, it is not uncommon, and the figure of a lonely, Forlorn Moon captures the essence of this emotion and proclivity quite well," says Frick.
Aside from screen-printed logo T-shirts, each Forlorn Moon piece — priced anywhere from under $75 to $200 — is painted as an "inherently unique artwork," complete with titles to go with each design. “Stay Away" features the planet Saturn with cartoonishly bugged-out eyes, while "Lonely Streetscape" shows Moon staring down at a quiet town.
Photo: VONDRE CLARK
There are also hand-painted leather earrings for $15 a pair, as well as bucket and baseball hats and shirts with Forlorn Moon logos, retailing for $30 to $45.
Those looking for a certain size or color can commission a piece through a form on the Forlorn Moon website. Frick says the hat patches take about 25 minutes to paint, while larger designs could take upwards of several hours to complete.
Frick assures that their hand-painted pieces are waterproofed and made "sturdy" so that everyday wear won't destroy the designs. However, they caution that pieces should still be treated with care, including being machine washed on cold and air-dried, as high temperatures can degrade the paint.
“I strive to create pieces that are not only wearable art but wearable art
that will last," says Frick. "Using such an uncommon fabrication lends itself to skepticism, but I have seen through my years of working in this niche that painted clothing can be beautiful in the long-term, sometimes even more so than mass-manufactured fashion.”
Besides the Forlorn Moon website, the collection can be purchased at RedFishBowl Studios in Lawrenceville. It will also be on display in September during Pittsburgh Fashion Week.
Frick believes that Pittsburgh is an "amazing city for fashion if you know where to look" and hopes to "bring a larger spotlight to the city by exhibiting what is possible here.”
No matter where the brand takes them, Frick wants to stay true to seeing Forlorn Moon as an intimate, artistic pursuit.
"All these pieces are my babies, and I will always prefer to create pieces by hand," says Frick.
Shop Forlorn Moon at forlornmoon.com.