Final Creative Work
Medium: Stitch and Paint
Title: More Than A Label
We currently live in a society that is extremely focused on materialistic items and where everyone is constantly trying to improve their image. A materialistic item that allows society to change their image is fashion. Fashion brands are producing new lines of cheap clothing so frequently that society ends up disposing clothes every 5-6 weeks in order to keep up with trends. This current time is often referred to as ‘fast fashion’. Although society views fast fashion as a positive, many people do not realise the implications it has on the production workers in developing countries. Anguelov explains that in order to keep prices low for the consumer, clothing manufacturers strive to keep their production costs low. (Anguelov 2). This means workers in developing countries receive a deduction in pay and an increase in hours. These workers are not receiving fair human rights. The key injustice and social issue for my project is the negative effects that the fashion industry is having on the production workers in developing countries due to the fast fashion period. Balsiger describes ethical fashion and the criteria that is required to be met to ensure that production workers are receiving fair human rights. ‘’Clothes produced according to ethical criteria: fashion made with organic or fair trade cotton, t-shirts and jeans produced by workers getting a living wage and working in factories that respected basic safety standards, second-hand dresses or jackets made of recycled materials’’. (Balsiger 1).
Mirzoeff describes visual thinking as something we do not simply study; and something which we have to engage with ourselves. (Mirzoeff 289). Visual thinking is a method of organising our thoughts and emotions visually. To successfully think visually we must be physically in the moment where visual thinking is taking place. Visual activism is a process of promoting, directing, or announcing change through visual examples. Mirzoeff discusses how the ways in which we engage with issues have changed. (Mirzoeff 290). This is due to the progression of technology and how there are now more platforms where issues can be shared and spoken about visually.
Fig. 1. Fashion Revolution. Show Your Label. 2016. Photographs. Fashionrevolution.org.
An example of visual activism which inspired my own creative work was Fashion Revolutions interactive campaign, Show Your Label. Show Your Label, was a campaign that used social media platforms to persuade the public to look into who made their clothes and where their clothes came from. The decision to promote this campaign over social media reflects on Mirzoeff’s quote, ‘’the ways in which we engage with issues have changed’’. (Mirzoeff 290). By promoting the campaign over social media it has meant that a larger audience has been exposed to the campaign and the effects the fashion industry has on the factory workers. This campaign is an example of visual activism as photographs have been used as an action to persuade others to look into who made their clothing. This campaign inspired me to use clothing labels and tags as part of my creative work. Beneath each label is a different story. A clothing label acts as a barrier to hide the effects that the production of the garment would have had on the factory workers. Beard explains that the average consumer will rarely question the brands practices and therefore, very few fashion brands have felt it is necessary to advertise where they manufacture their garments or source their fabrics. (Beard 448). This is because society is so focused on being accepted by others, which means keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends without paying any attention to the background of the garments.
Fig. 2. The True Cost. Trailer Image. 2015. Photograph/Graphic. Truecostmovie.com
My final creative work is an up-cycled denim jacket. The front of the jacket has a range of clothing tags which have been hand stitched to the denim. The back of the jacket has a white painted statement that reads, ‘’More than a label’’. I purposefully placed a shopping bag over my models face when photographing the completed jacket. This concept was inspired by a poster for the documentary, The True Cost, where they had photographed models wearing bags over their heads (fig 2). The concept represents society and how caught up we are in brands, trends, and the need to be accepted by others. My creative work is designed to persuade the public and intended audience (young females) to think beyond the label and begin questioning who made their clothes and where their clothing came from. I purposefully chose to use a second hand denim jacket purchased from a local op-shop to promote op-shops as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to shopping. Purchasing from a second hand clothing store reduces textile waste, improves the lives of production workers and benefits the environment.
Fig. 3. More Than A Label, Front View. Personal Photograph by Kate Arbuckle. 07 Jun 2016.
Fig. 4. More Than A Label, Side View. Personal Photograph by Kate Arbuckle. 07 Jun 2016.
Fig. 5. More Than A Label, Back View. Personal Photograph by Kate Arbuckle. 07 Jun 2016.
Anguelov, Nikolay. The Dirty Side of the Garment Industry : Fast Fashion and Its Negative Impact on Environment and Society. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2015. Ebook Library. Web. 07 Jun. 2016.
Balsiger, Philip; Johnston, Dr. Hank. The Fight for Ethical Fashion : The Origins and Interactions of the Clean Clothes Campaign. Farnham: Taylor and Francis, 2016. Ebook Library. Web. 07 Jun. 2016.
Beard, Nathaniel Dafydd. ‘’The Branding of Ethical Fashion and the Consumer: A Luxury Niche or Mass-market Reality?’’. Fashion Theory 12:4 (2008): 447-467. Web. 7 Jun 2016.
“Fashion Revolution”. Fashionrevolution.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 28 May 2016
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World. Great Britain: Penguin, 2015. Print.