“Fashion presents a particular environmental challenge due to its emphasis on constant change and planned obsolescence. According to a recent Cambridge University study, garment production and care represent a major pollutant as a result of great energy expenditure and the use of toxic chemicals. Meanwhile, the number of clothes manufactured and consumed has been steadily increasing as prices have declined due to lower manufacturing standards and labor conditions. 1 This phenomenon is in part related to the rise of fast fashion, which changes much more quickly than seasonally-based designer fashion. ””
“Rethink” seeks to directly question the fashion cycle and its dependence on fast and constant change by suggesting a paradigm shift in how we think about fashion. Artists such as Andrea Zittel and Tiprin Follett of the smockshop, Kelly Cobb and Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, as well as the design company Slow and Steady Wins the Race promote a slower fashion tempo by suggesting novel ways to produce and consume fashion. Their practices foster the creation of meaningful networks and relations through clothing as well as challeng – ing the seasonality of the fashion trade. They remind us that fashion “is about a richer interaction between designer and maker; maker and garment; garment and user. A strong bond of relationship is formed which permeates far beyond the garment manufacturing chain and influences the way our clothes are designed and used. ”
4 Slow and Steady Wins the Race makes non-seasonal quality designs that, in line with a product design model, are avail – able year-round for a number of years. Inspired by the local food movement, Kelly Cobb ’s collaborative project under – scores the labor-intensive nature of making clothes by pro – ducing a suit with material and craftspeople located within 100 miles of her home. Zoë Sheehan Saldaña also emphasiz – es the labor involved in producing a garment by recreating Wal-Mart garments by hand. She later returns her handmade version to the store for resale in lieu of the ones she originally purchased.
-Francesca Granata + Sarah Scaturro