Slow Fashion Center For Degrowth

April 26 - May 6, 2024 • Lake City, South Carolina

An interactive performance installation in partnership with ArtFields where I set up a room full of my upcycled textile art and invited the public in for free sewing & mending lessons. In addition to my art and skillshare there was another room full of *free clothes*, starting with 2 car loads of trash bags full of clothes that the 2 local thrift stores were throwing away and then more donations from the community came through each day for the 11 days of the activation as hundreds of community members shared resources and skills.

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion movement takes an ethical and sustainable approach to producing clothes. The slow fashion movement is a direct response to the harmful impact of fast fashion on the environment and garment workers. It advocates for making fashion choices that are kinder to people and planet. Mending and learning how to alter and fix our own clothes is also important, as we collectively move away from toxic materials and dyes and to longer term quality and care in our textiles.

What is Degrowth?

Degrowth is an academic and social movement critical of capitalism and the concept of growth in gross domestic product (GPD) as a measure of human and economic development. Degrowth theory's main argument is that an infinite expansion of the economy is fundamentally contradictory to the finiteness of material resources on Earth. It argues that economic growth measured by GDP should be abandoned as a policy objective and instead highlights the importance of extensive public services, care work, self-organization, commons, relational goods, community, and work sharing.

Free Clothes!

I got 2 carloads of the textiles donated from the local thrift stores, mountains of trash bags of “damaged”, stained, or unsold clothes sheets and textiles that were headed to the landfill. All during the event people would come take clothes and also bring donations so that there was always something new on the tables. Through giving freely within the community, no money was exchanged and yet hundreds of people were able to get some free clothes. I was teaching sewing lessons in the other room and people could bring things in from free clothes and learn how to fix them and also get creative and start to make their own upcycled fashions on the spot.

Tshirt Word Textiles

These textiles were saved from the goodwill bins, the place where all the unsold goods that get donated to goodwill end up before going to the landfill and are sold by the pound. This place is where I source most of my art supplies, I like to work with things the thrift stores are going to *throw away* because they got all these donations for free and if people don’t buy them at the bins they are going to the ground. The letters are cut out from Tshirts and I use the rest of the tshirt scraps left over to make tassels for earrings and for the bottle cap necklaces. The small final scraps I use to stuff floor pillows. My goal is to use as much of the material as possible and keep things out of the landfill.

Upcycled Tshirt Word Collage Shirts

I take used clothing and start by fixing any holes or rips. Sometimes I cut the bottom of shirts to make a crop and then add the extra fabric to make sleeve ruffles. I add letters cut out from Tshirts to make these upcycled shirts and I buy my thread from estate sales and thrift stores. Even my tags are printed on tshirt fabric scraps!

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