Francesca Antico: Woman of the Week in the Arts

Part of the Censorship Collection by Francesca Antico

Jane Taylor

Part of the Censorship Collection by Francesca Antico

Jane Taylor, Guest Writer

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Frida Kahlo was an early 20th century surrealist artists, hailing from Mexico, that redefined traditional values and questioned society’s values, she serves as a major artistic, feminist, and political icon for all people today. In the presence of Women’s History Month, we honor her as well as a student from Madison High School, Francesca Antico, a senior who is pursuing a career in fashion at the Marist College in New York beginning in 2018. Francesca was chosen to represent a modern day Frida at the high school for the passion, creativity, and innovation that both her and Frida possessed.

Frida Kahlo is remembered in large part for her famous unibrow and body hair, which she actively kept in a natural state despite Western culture beginning to endorse the removal of body hair from women. In this way Frida also served to redefine the beauty standard, something that Francesca actively hopes to achieve with her career in design by focusing on design as an expression of self rather than just a passing trend.

Frida also in her time made great strides in rejecting the social norm in favor of staying true to herself. Frida frequently questioned gender roles and rejected the idea of rigid masculinity and femininity based on assigned gender at birth, and often dressed in men’s clothing and was unconcerned with the expectations of her as a wo man, rather defining herself as a person. Francesca also rejects the gender binary and advocates for a world where masculinity and femininity are more fluid between all genders, and hopes to help to contribute to this goal in her design. Although much of the clothes that Francesca designs are designed for women, they do not rely strictly on typical feminine stereotypes of fashion, and she also enjoys designing gender fluid clothing.

Frida was also inspirational because of how she forged her own ideas even in times of opposition. Raised in strongly Roman Catholic Mexico, Frida instead formulated her own beliefs and defined herself as an atheist, regardless of people’s criticisms. Francesca similarly was raised in a religious household, and eventually at a young age began to question these beliefs, and came out of this questioning with her own decisive spirituality that differed from that that she had been raised in.

Frida Kahlo however is known most famously for the artwork that she produced, and how her art affected social change, forcing people to question traditional values or work towards free thought and action. A large part of Francesca’s inspiration for her designs come from the desire to affect social change. She is very passionate about making a difference in the world somehow, and from a young age wanted to join the Peace Corps to achieve this goal hands on, however eventually she remodeled her ideas and decided that she wanted to create change through her design, in a way that she would be able to express bold ideas without having to audibly say anything, Many of Francesca’s commentative designs are focused on environmental protection, which she is very passionate about; she hopes eventually to own her own company and make all of her designs from biodegradable fabrics that would not harm the environment. Francesca also has designed or plans to design collections on other pressing issues such as women’s empowerment, the new Trump administration, as well as censorship.

Francesca’s dream from a young age was to enter into the world of fashion, and this love for art has affected her greatly, giving her confidence and helping her to better express herself. People often question her ability to succeed in a competitive field like the fashion industry, but ultimately she has persevered and continues to push towards her dream with an emphasis on it being an artistic expression, not simply a piece of clothing. In these ways, Francesca serves as a modern day inspiration to people everywhere to pursue goals in the face of opposition, as well as to actively create positive social change.

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