8½ × 11 (× 36) | Dave Salanitro

8½ × 11 (× 36)



Notes for Successful Couture

This document is no slapdash lark. It was not thrown together last-minute by high-priced lawyers or at their insistence. It has not been recycled with keywords searched for and replaced by electronic means from last spring’s Tractor Pull event guidelines, which were revised from a PSA having to do with public swimming pools. This unique document is courteously provided so that you need not suffer the public humiliations1 of past AIGA-sponsored-event participants who were, instead, left to guess at the undocumented and arbitrarily conceived vagaries of event organizers and judges, which, though admittedly making for spontaneous and lively gatherings, were thought not to reflect so well on the AIGA. This document has been prepared to assist you, to provide for your safety and for the safety of others, and (on account of the poor listening skills exhibited by certain officials who leaked certain unconfirmed event details that have now come to bite us in a proverbial fashion) to clarify the many falsifications circulating among the design community. Enjoy.

01 Winning

Only forty designs, as selected by our judges who have among them not one credential — though each maintains reasonable faculty of sight2 by either natural or corrective means — that might, even tangentially, qualify them to critique fashion design, will be showcased at the AIGA Paper Fashion Show event. Judges are encouraged to rank their chosen designs from Best to No Better Alternative. This information will be shared at the discretion of event organizers, not with “winners” but with others unnamed. Do not ask who they are; only be grateful that you have been spared the burden of knowledge.

Success is linked to the promise of reward for oneself. You are advised to turn your focus inward and reach for the dream. Be aware of distractions that impede performance such as family, career, and personal hygiene.

02 Remuneration

There will be none.3 If we had the unlimited funds you seem to think we have, if money were to grow on trees that we plant and nurture specifically for their monetary yield, we might offer some to you because we are kind and because we might like to. But we do not have unlimited funds, nor have we magic trees budding with cash, and, therefore, we have nothing to share. And, further, we would not in any case offer you wages for your participation in the AIGA Paper Fashion Show event because the fact that you are helping a worthy cause, the fact that you will get to make clothes out of paper that is provided to you free of charge (which paper no one will berate you for wasting and, by extension, wasting money, when you casually wad up and toss out your copious trimmings, which paper scraps no one will dig through and make from them unattractive note pads and insist that you write on both sides of each page before you chuck it into the recycle bin), the fact that only here will you meet other people who like making clothes out of paper and only here will you meet others with the rare proclivity for donating paper for someone else to make clothes out of, and the fact that you will get to see the product of your labors professionally lit, is reward enough.

03 Compensation

In consideration of your effort, and because we want to, and not because we have to, we will give you four tickets to the event that you may share with whomever.

04 Needles Are Dangerous

Don’t run with them. Don’t play with them. Don’t take this warning lightly. Many careless designers have been stuck and have bled. Some have bled prolifically. Bleeding is not funny. Bleeding on an outfit made of paper is not funny. Paper is irrevocably stained when inconsiderate people bleed on it. So, unless your paper fashion vision happens to include, thematically, bleeding, use needles and other sharp objects cautiously.

05 Regarding Small Child Models

We love the small child models as much as the next not-for-profit organization. Broadly, we believe the children are the future and that they are also, possibly, those upon whom we slather the greatest love of all. We believe this especially of the good children. But even good children do not necessarily make good child models. Plus, we’ve had some unfortunate run-ins having to do with small child models and shiny objects gone missing. So, we are taking some steps to ensure a problem-free paper-oriented event.

We are sympathetic to your predicament — most normal children love to model paper fashions, almost as much as do adults, and they are prone to rage when they are denied the privilege. Also, sitters are increasingly difficult to find due to the recent media frenzy having to do with sitters who have suffered abuse at the tiny fists of child models, which, if you were to ask us, is much the fault of sitters themselves who will not adapt to modern sitting standards and instead impose upon children such entertainments as a “rousing” game of Mystery Date, to which child models are particularly sensitive because of the game’s shockingly outdated-fashion reveals. Nevertheless, no child should get everything it wants simply because it wants it; and, as much as the dependable sitter next door is gone scarce, new sitters are making themselves available every day via the miracle that is the Internet.

And, while we are on the subject, what kind of world would it be if everyone grew up getting everything they asked for? You sure wouldn’t have paper fashion shows or not-for-profit organizations. You would stay at home lying on the couch and balancing a plate of spaghetti on your stomach, or maybe at the beach with something warm and lovely to nibble on and the drink of your choice to comfort and moderately sedate you. There would be no progress because you are lazy. Because all you have ever known since you were a small child model is to sit and do nothing and make noise and be fed. If nature hadn’t forced its ways upon you, you’d still be in the womb — warm and comfortable and lazy. Which is why we think child models need a wake-up call, a little tough love imposed on them. If only for these few hours, let’s take back the night. Let’s live as adults are meant to live and enjoy our paper fashion show the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Let’s keep the little ones off the runway and bound up in Snugglies® and sufficiently pacified or in the car with the window cracked. (We cannot stress enough the importance of cracking open the car window.)

06 Regarding Elsa Klench

Elsa Klench will, under no circumstances, be allowed in or near the building. Now you know.

07 Regarding “Cindy Crawford”

It is true. “Cindy Crawford” appears impossibly beautiful and rich and charming (and charmed). But what many people don’t realize is that “Cindy Crawford” is a figment of our collective imagination. How do we know this? “Cindy Crawford” is simply not possible. Such perfection exemplifies a universe that is not in order. (Are you not still anchored to the earth? Is physics theory or fact?) “Cindy Crawford” is our ideal. Ideals are not part of an ordered universe — though we may wish it so — and although we may dream (or delude ourselves), we must also accept that the AIGA Paper Fashion Show is a live event that will take place in the physical world, and because we have thus far been unsuccessful procuring an in-kind donation or sponsor for elaborate special effects, “Cindy Crawford” will not be in “attendance.”

08 Why Tape?

Because there are many types of tape and because tape can be used for many purposes, tape is appropriate.

09 Regarding Toxic and Other Hazardous Materials

We respect every American’s right to make use of our country’s abundant toxic and other hazardous resources; we do not, however, sanction recklessness. In particular, we do not sanction the reckless transportation of toxic and other hazardous materials to or from this event; likewise, to and from the office, grocer, haberdasher, and/or other public and semi-private places. We do not sanction it. We will not tolerate it.

We want to tell you something about the way you cart around such things uncontained (aka “carting commando” among nefarious youth gangs and other subversive thrill-seekers). And, yes, we are mightily peeved. Hand-carrying hazardous materials (acids, bases, solvents, and the like) uncontained means that you are opening the door to incident. You are opening the door and inviting incident in. You are sitting down with incident for an evening of Must-see TV. Soon you are exposing yourself to incident — a shift of the skirt, a button-fly come undone — and before you can say endopeptidases,4 incident is upon you and there is no turning back.

Please, don’t be irresponsible when you’re responsible for responsibly transporting and/or handling toxic and other hazardous materials. To be clear, you are responsible to act responsibly specifically immediately before, during, and immediately after the AIGA Paper Fashion Show event. Make certain that you, all persons in your employ, volunteers, relations, and captives are properly equipped. Variously sized, approved Polyfoam or Nalgene carriers are available in stores where hazardous materials are sold. Some very generous and caring vendors make containers available on a use-and-return basis.

Injury, by means of topical application, ingestion, and/or inhalation of harmful (though delightfully fragrant and enticing) chemicals is increasingly common. Help secure our tomorrows by making an effort today.

10 Forewarning

Matches, lighters, flintlocks, kindling, and the like will be taken forcibly at the door.


1. The AIGA categorically denies wrongdoing (our hands are immaculate; remove from thine own eye thine own log) that you have doubtless heard suggested among industry flibbertigibbets. Further, the AIGA is not liable for injuries (bodily or otherwise) sustained during, in the course of preparing for, or while thinking about this event.

2. v. CA Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Vehicular Code §12804.9(a)(1)(E).

3. Except for that which benefits the Hunter’s Point Enrichment Scholarship program, which, if you’re interested, you can read about online, in which case you might happen upon a way to scam money from the HPES or other programs, in which case, and if you we’re successful, we would have no other choice but to concede that you are our Daddy.

4. (ĕn´dō-pĕp’tĭ-dās, dāz´)

Dave Salanitro for SF AIGA

“Dave is the best of humorists, he’s someone with something to say, and there’s always meaning in his work if you bother to look. And he’s a compelling enough designer that you always want to look.”—Marisa Banks, Marketing Director, Eddy Specialty Papers

2001 Admark ADDY® Silver Certificate of Excellence winner 

Design: Dave Salanitro; Photography: David Martinez; Writer: Dave Salanitro