Art, Fashion, Ecology, and My Year-Long Fast
I'm excited to announce a new project I've had in the works since August. The project is called, Make Thrift Mend, and it's an art project focused on sustainable fashion, social practice, “art as action”, and reclaiming traditional garment-making skills. This project is also a “fast-fashion” fast that will be active from August 1, 2013- August 1, 2014. That's right, as of August 1, 2013 I have not purchased a single garment of clothing that does not fit the project guidelines.
Sadly, this means no denim from the Gap, no bohemian dresses from Anthropologie, and no trendy accessories from Target. I've been shopping in thrift stores and dappling in garment making for years--but this is a much bigger commitment. And it's already changing my life. For the better.
So why did I begin? I was outraged by the factory collapse in Bangladesh in spring 2013 killing more than 1,000 workers; inspired by the NPR interview with Elizabeth Cline author of, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion; and prompted by Natalie Chanin’s blog post regarding slow design–I needed something to change.
As many of you remember, I started concentrating on making my own clothing this summer and attended a few textile-focused workshops. That's when I decided to take the plunge. I used this information to inspire a process-based art project that would allow me to engage with slow fashion, stage a personal artist’s protest, and delve deeper into the intersection of art, fashion, and sustainability. It also allows me to continue with other studio work while growing this project over the course of the year.
From August 1, 2013- Augst 1, 2014 I’ve committed to a fast-fashion fast. As part of my journey to resist the fast-fashion industry– and it’s unethical labor and ecological practices– I will focus on making my own clothing, shopping for thrifted, vintage, and/ or used clothing, and learning the disappearing crafts of mending, darning, preserving and making garments.
I will take this investigation one step further by aiming to buy used clothing that is made of natural materials (cotton, linen, wool, hemp, silk, etc) to reduce the petrochemicals in my closet. So far, this last part has been trickier than I imagined--I never realized that so many contemporary garments are made with synthetics. It's certainly insisted I utilize "slow fashion" when shopping the thrift stores. I will also research "ethical" fashion brands and only buy any new clothing--and very limited at that--from these sustainable sources.
Throughout the year I will offer DIY tutorials, create an extensive resource list, share my process, and document my garment making. Upon completing the project it’s my intention to organize an interactive exhibition complete with objects and artifacts gathered throughout the year. I have several ideas for this exhibition/ installation but I'll wait until I'm much further along before I commit. I also hope to offer classes and workshops that relate to the project--online and in-person. All the information will be documented on my new website: Make Thrift Mend.
Eep! Now, it's official. I've declared it from this little virtual mountain.