Pear Ware: The Handmade Bootleg Fashion You Dream of
✦ Botánica Cimarrón ✦
So, what's your origin story? I heard a rumor that your beginnings involve primal astrology...is that true?
✦ Pear Ware ✦
Ostrich: Well, part of it was just [Duck and I] working together at PS1 and would show up to work and be wearing like complimentary versions of each other's outfits. Then everyone thought we were the same person and got us confused.
Duck: Even though I’m like 2 inches taller (lol). At the same time, there was also that photo of Joan floating around wearing the Pear netting as a hat.
Ostrich: And we had all just moved to New York or back to New York around the same time.
Duck: Everyone was having this similar idea of Pear netting as clothing
Ostrich: And specifically the cultural overlap of the excessively packaged and protected yellow Asian pear.
Duck: So we had independently arrived at the same conclusion…and then on top of that we discovered that we were all birds in Primal Astrology, which is this kinda janky website that combines your Western astrological sign with the Chinese zodiac…
Ostrich: It felt pretty cosmic. I think we met one or two times without Joan, and then she was like, wtf, I wanna be involved.
Duck: Yeah, she wanted to be the nudger!
Ostrich: The self-proclaimed hype man…
Duck: But she quickly took control (laughing)... Joan made it (the project of Pear Ware) official.
Duck: And then we had this one night where we were all hanging out at our friend Chino’s house and we played a prank on him where we put all these dead leaves in this empty chip bag and put it back on his shelf and then afterwards we walked to Domino Park and there’s like this fountain there…
Ostrich: Was that at Matt’s birthday?
Duck: Yeah, and we were doing this runway walk through the fountain…
Ostrich: And we kept saying “Pear Ware 2020, Pear Ware 2020.”
Duck: Exactly (laughing) and that’s the origin.
✦ BC ✦
You make beautiful quirky pieces with recycled fabrics, what's the process like of choosing your materials?
✦ PW ✦
Ostrich: I mean I feel like a scavenger.
Duck: Yeah you’re definitely a bit of a Craigslist, eBay scavenger/hoarder…
Ostrich: Yeah, it’s a way of accumulating more things.
Duck: I think I’ve just somehow accrued a lot of stuff over time.
Ostrich: You definitely have so much stuff.
Duck: Yeah, it’s all from people giving me stuff that they don’t want but can’t throw away... or I’ve just had weird opportunities to go to like Materials for the Arts, also my mom collected a lot of materials so I inherited some from her.
Ostrich: She’s also a hoarder.
Duck: Yeah, I come from a long line of hoarders, so, yeah. Materials are always kinda finding their way…to me.
Ostrich: And I feel like Joan really just loved tactile things. She was so into that horsetail stuff, and anything that was fat and chunky.
Duck: Yeah, definitely. And I think growing up with her parent’s shoe store, and like being around bags and bags of 80s deadstock sportswear-
Ostrich: And also just like, comfortable fabrics.
Duck: So basically we’re all into stuff that’s free or cheap, soft and kinda nostalgic.
✦ BC ✦
Are there any traditions or makers that you draw inspiration from?
✦ PW ✦
Ostrich: I think that when we were starting off working together, we described it as like a sewing circle. We’d go to each other’s apartments for meetings to hang out and make things. I think about that more than a specific designer or something, where it’s more about the act of coming together and working and sitting around and eating.
Duck: The first thing that came to my mind was the Borrowers, you know, Ghibli made a movie out of it, but I think it was originally an old English tale about these little people who secretly borrow (aka steal) from regular sized humans and make things from cast off and forgotten objects and stuff…
Ostrich: It definitely makes me think about, well, I don’t think we’re ever like outside of capitalism, but we definitely were not starting out with the mindset of like, commercial success, it was much more about making small-scale unique things with materials that have already lived a few lives.
Duck: Yeah, definitely an excuse to hang out and swap and teach each other how to do things. And like now, even more, Joan’s scamming philosophy-
Ostrich: Yeah we carry that with us.
Duck: It’s an inspiration and a reason to continue making stuff.
Ostrich: I also feel like there are so many people right now that are like making things by hand in small batches... I think about that a lot. Like our contemporaries.
Duck: Definitely, like I get so much more inspired by friends or random internet people-
Ostrich: Craft tiktok
Duck: Yeah seriously, I mean like I don’t pay attention too, well actually, I do, like I am really into fashion (laughing) but I guess like less so in terms of the art world...
Ostrich: Right, cause I feel like part of it is that we all kind of have our own sort of history with having an art practice and were trying to think about Pear Ware existing as something in-between our practice and fashion. Not exactly like one or the other.
Duck: Not art, not fashion, kinda more like a kid’s craft zone..