Photographer:Fotograaf: iArts students
How dirty are your clothes?
What kind of waste do you think ends up in the river Maas most? Plastic? Glass? Actually, second- and third-year students of iArts, an interdisciplinary arts programme of Zuyd Hogeschool to which also UM teachers contribute, found a lot of clothing and textiles. Commissioned by Dutch Earth Week – which starts next Monday – to do a project about nomadic waste in the river, they designed a clothing line made from fabrics found in the Maas.
“We started looking at the life cycle of clothing,” says Isabella De Angelis, one of the five students involved in the project. How do clothes end up in stores and what happens to them when people no longer want to wear them? To find out – research is just as important as the creative aspect in iArts-projects – the students dived into the world of fast fashion.
“There is pollution every step of the way,” says De Angelis. “From the chemical substances used to dye the clothes to the microplastics that end up in the water when they are washed.” “It has really changed my perspective on shopping,” says second-year Sophie van Leeuwen. “I’ve stopped buying fast fashion brands. The fashion world is not transparent at all. It’s very difficult to find out how, where and by whom your clothes are made.”
The clothing line is meant to raise awareness. “We want to show that clothes are never really waste,” says De Angelis. “Their life cycle doesn’t end if you reuse the fabrics.” In addition, the students poured their research into a creative writing form and created a magazine. “We don’t want to scare people off with pages of dry research,” Van Leeuwen grins. De Angelis adds: “We want to invite people to learn, not throw it at them. That can make you feel a bit defensive or it goes in one ear and out the other. We want to tell a story that sticks.”
The clothing line (named Distressed) will be shown at an exhibition in the Entre Deux shopping mall (Spilstraat 6) on 10 and 11 October. The students also hope to collaborate with FashionClash in June and possibly show the collection on the catwalk. “The clothes are fragile – it’s more about the concept – but they can be worn,” says De Angelis.