Outfits for a Modern World

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Collection of three recycled mannequins dressed in smart fashionable smart evening-wear clothing.Materials: Found shop mannequins, including plastic packaging, video tape, spun wool, vertical blind materials, cardboard, bread tags,  heights: Dad 83cm; Mum 78cm, baby 69cm.

The aim of this work is to communicate ideas about family, environment and sustainability with the viewers to provide awareness. I have a strong passion to communicate my concerns of the ever-increasing need for fossil fuel power, consumerism and economic growth.

 

To achieve this I’m focusing on relaying this message through my art by using sourced reusable everyday mediums that is considered trash. I enjoy the challenge of working with these materials as they bring out my creative side and relay the environmental messages of concerns about consumerism and fossil fuel demands we are placing on the earth.

Creative process

The concept of this piece is transformation of everyday consumer throwaway objects into articles of clothing for our modern family. The style of clothing is smart evening wear, as this conflicts with the waste materials used. I decided to use plastics, video tape, vertical blinds, and different textile techniques including, spinning, knitting, crocheting, sewing, pattern construction.

Initial inspiration

I started with three found mannequins that were used for shop display of children’s clothes. The mannequins became a family unit Mother, Father and Child.

The mannequins were a little worse for wear as the material that covered their bodies was covered with stains. I did not want to immerse them in water or re- skin them but instead opted to give them a sponge bath. This cleaned them but still retained the used look. The frame that shaped the body also needed manipulation to straighten their limbs into a more natural looking human form.

Techniques

Spinning the videotape was a learning experience as the tape is completely different to wool fiber due to less flexibility. I was happy with the outcome as the thread was strong and provided many aspects to how this thread can be used.

 

Knitting the videotape was also difficult due to the stiffness of the yarn. I found that if I used larger needles and after a little practice knitting become a lot easier. I have also found that videotape is becoming increasingly harder to source which is an indication of how technology is changing at a very fast pace and the old is quickly turned into an obsolete product.

The most challenging mannequin was the father due to his shape and the detailed work involved in the suit requiring traditional pattern making techniques.

The materials I used for the suit is re-purposed child’s play tent material and thick plastic packaging from dried dog food, turned inside out. This resulted in a very clean result that did not link clearly with the environmental message so I added elements including adding bread tags and the correct side of the dog food packaging into the tuxedo bib and trimmings.

    

Creating the outfit for the baby using discarded plastic wrapper from disposable nappies package had a few challenges due to having to manipulate the pattern to fit on the small pieces of plastic using patchwork technique. The overall effect and colouring of the packages is successful and provides an instant connection to disposable nappies are a once only use item taking up to 300 years to decompose.

Outfits for a Modern World 2015