For my project I’m going to create a sculpture of hanging fabrics made out of cloths with vestment shapes. Some images in my mood board are inspired by events in the fashion industry like The shirtwaist fire in 1911 or the Bangladeshi garment workers killed in the Rana Plaza Building Collapse in 2013. Just like these images in my mood board deal with major events, through my theme I’m going to portray the issue of Zara’s workers hiding secret notes inside clothes to raise the awareness that the workers manufacturing the clothes did not get paid. I also want to raise awareness of the conditions in which garment workers work to make the clothes we see in the stores and the clothes we wear everyday.
I’m going to make a see-through box and hang cloths with the shapes of shirts pants, etc. These pieces of fabric will contain hidden messages just like Zara workers hid messages insides clothes. I’m going to use different colour fabrics that represent different people all around the world, mainly in poor countries that make all the clothing. I’m going to use colors that connote helplessness and tiredness to show how much work the workers work for and how little they get paid, in this situation they didn’t get paid at all. For the scale I’m going to make the box roughly 16×16 inches and the clothes are going to be 10 cm. I’m going to use metal wire to make the box, this is reminiscent of a cage and I make this to give the sense of them feeling trapped.
- At the beginning of my process I started to cut fabric with the shape of a shirt. I was going to sew messages on these shirts just like Zara workers did. However, my idea changed afterwards.
New Idea Documentation
I originally was going make a piece that portrayed the issue of Zara’s workers hiding secret notes inside clothes to raise the awareness that the workers manufacturing the clothes did not get paid. My idea changed as I did further research on Zara workers hiding notes inside clothes. It is said that the workers weren’t unpaid deliberately.The person in change of the Bravo Tekstil factory ran with all the money Zara gave him. After reading this article, I thought that Zara should’t be blamed for everything. Even though I think it is unfair that the factory workers didn’t get paid, Zara isn’t responsible for what happened, all the responsibility is on the person who ran with the money. I do not think that Zara did wrong on selling those clothes because they did pay for them. The workers of that factory ruined the reputation of Zara with something they weren’t responsible for and I think the workers should have thought of a better way to get the public’s attention. In addition to that, Bravo Tekstil factory made clothes for many companies apart from Zara, and Zara was the only company that was blamed after the hidden notes issue went viral.
For my new idea, I still wanted to create something related with an event in the fashion industry. I think that it is very important for me to understand how historical events changed the fashion industry as my major is Fashion Design. My new idea is going to be about The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911.
I used a recycled carton box to be symbolic of the factory in which the workers in the triangle factory worked. I thought a box was very suitable as it doesn’t have any wholes, this is symbolic of how the factory’s doors were locked and there was no way out. I sew on a piece of recycled fabric so I could sew more fabric on top. I chose this salmon colour because the factory was made out of bricks with more or less this colour.
I made columns out of folds stuck to ‘the factory ‘ to represent that the workers were stucked in that place. I made a pattern that I learned in a Youtube tutorial and I liked this pattern on the column that represent factory workers because it also gives the sense that they are trapped. In addition to that, I made this pattern in the shape of a triangle. This is shows that they are trapped in that Triangle factory.
For the bottom of the column I pinned the fabric upwards to create motion, this is symbolic of the factory workers running for their lives. However this is ironic as they are stuck on to the fabric box. I used white fabric not only to show their helplessness, but also to represent that they were innocent victims.
”The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men– who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Italian and Jewish immigrant women aged 14 to 23.”
While I was sewing, I was imagining them sewing in a locked fabric 12 hours a day. I see the contrast of the condition in which I sew and the condition in which they sew and it motivated me more to make this piece to highlight their handwork and criticise the unsafely conditions in which they work.