When you head out for a walk in the park on first Saturday of the month, nourish your body and your soul by taking it in Unionville Community Park. Be inspired by unexpected art displayed along the paths. This plein-air gallery walk is the brainchild of David Ferron, the CEO and Creative Director of David Ferron Unionville Saddle, a fashion atelier in town. What began in April as a way to share art with folks during the shutdown, is slowly gaining traction. “My goal with this is to have a casual way for artists to present their work outdoors while our community is still battling against Covid-19. The concept is simple; artists bring a piece of artwork and set it up somewhere in the park that speaks to them.” Ferron began spreading the word about it with friends and on social media. He posts on Instagram and set up a Facebook page for artists to plan their events. It now has 167 members.
Just a handful of works were on view on July 4th but Ferron isn’t discouraged. “After the first weekend of Art in the Park, I realized the power we as artists have to spark joy in our community. And right now is the time to do it.” Art is on view, weather permitting, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Check Unionville Saddle’s social media, or the park’s Facebook page for any updates to the schedule.
Ferron isn’t a stranger to making visual art, but his passion mainly lies in the art of making clothes. He attended Parsons School of Design where he won the prestigious Womenswear Designer of the Year award during his fourth year there. It catapulted him to a fashion career in New York with leading designers in the industry including Thomas Maier, the creative director at Bottega Veneta. He learned a lot about the business and a lot about sustainability while working under the umbrella of parent company, Kering. Ferron is grateful for the experience. “Working in the fashion industry for a decade opened my eyes to some major flaws in the current fashion system. I decided to approach the business in a much different way by creating single pieces specifically to a client’s needs.” Women have long been tired of shopping in stores filled with clothes that fit the bodies of tweens and teens rather than adult women. And, stories about unused and discarded clothing ending up in landfills have motivated people to be more thoughtful about fashion. Ferron’s philosophy is, “Your Body Infinite Options.”
After returning to the area a few years ago, he opened his shop next door to the house his mother grew up in. There was something about the fact that it was a mainstay in his mother’s memories of childhood and that his father had recently worked on the renovations to the building which had housed Unionville Saddle since 1887, that drew him to it. Keeping the name made sense and aligned with Ferron’s principles. You won’t find any fast fashion here. It’s all about quality over quantity and a nod to the past when getting clothes tailored and holding onto them was a given. You won’t find a sales rack either. Ferron described his stint in New York, “Loads of clothes were made and typically retailers would order a whole lot of smalls and not enough larges; it isn’t a realistic model. The clothes wouldn’t move until they went on a sales rack. I’d much rather make a collection that will be sold immediately and make my clients happy with a one of a kind piece.”
Ferron was all set to debut his first collection at the BRM in March, when it was canceled due to the pandemic. He is now looking forward to next year. “I have been in close communication with them and will be announcing a new date for the show when the time is right.” The shutdown has forced him to re-think his strategy a bit. He will be making two collections a year and will have from five to seven designs to choose from. Fashion is art when you can make it your own. Working closely with his clients, fabrics and styles will be chosen together. Ferron is passionate about his plans. “Fashion design is about creating work that is emotional, interesting, and beautiful.”
In addition to Ferron’s originals, David Ferron Unionville Saddle carries classic vintage clothes in mint condition, clean and tailored IF I FELL handbags made with repurposed luxury cast-offs, and animal product free candles for the home. Ferron’s altruistic offerings include his own Cottage Print scarf and his Everywear Masks. Artist Vicki Vinton’s powerful Stand with Presence sculpture, which made its debut at Somerville Manning Gallery, is prominently displayed out front of the shop and her small lapel sized pins are available for sale too.
Whatever you do this week, support the arts!!
About Constance McBride
A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.