7 wears, 2023. Industrially produced muslin, handwoven cotton fabric, thread, wood, 7 days of wearing each garment. 30”x24”x4”. Left: timelapse of each iteration of two shirts. Left: performance process shot.
I sewed two shirts from a women’s paper sewing pattern. I used handwoven fabric I wove for one of the shirts, and muslin for the other. Studies of American and UK women have found that on average, an article of clothing is only worn seven times before it is discarded. I wore both of these shirts only seven times. Each time I wore one of the shirts, I cut off a section to exchange with the other, visually marking each wear and gradually combining industrially produced with handwoven fabric. I sewed the sections of the two shirts back together by hand for each exchange of parts.
Historically, garments were passed down through generations and worn until they were rags before being discarded. This is because the garments were made by hand, and required an enormous amount of labor to produce. Since the Industrial Revolution, clothing has become much less expensive to produce: although it was once precious, it is now viewed as disposable, particularly to the fast fashion industry. Despite this, clothing still must be sewn by hand, and each garment holds many hours of labor. Through undertaking this project, I acted out the vast amount of labor required to make a garment to people who are in my community, who were astonished by the vast amount of time I was spending each day sewing my clothes back together. I hope this astonishment extends to the vast amount of waste and exploitation the textile industry perpetuates.