New Trash | A critical look at fast fashion

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NEW TRASH

New Trash is a personal series consisting of photography, gifs, and words. The US apparel industry today is a $12 billion business. Across the country women spend about $2,000 a year on clothing. I can’t find any statistics on what percentage of those clothes are actually worn more than once. But I have my suspicions that it is uncomfortably low. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2018 the US produced 17 million tons of textile waste.

New Trash

Waste, waist, wasted. 
Discarded clothes
Heavy, heaping, 

Buy more, try this! 
Day old trends 
To accentuate the hips
To hide the waist, waste, wasted

New trash 
Shiny flashy fast 
New trash 
For her, for him, for they/them 
New trash for big bodies 
It’s inclusive now! 

If they are disposable
What does that say about us? 
Waste waist wasted.

My relationship with NEW TRASH

I’ve never been a big shopper, partially because as an artist I spent years with a very limited income. But also because I always got hand-me-downs. First from my older brother, then from friends who hit puberty and growth spurts before me. A lot of my closet consists of clothing I snagged from my mom when she moved to a climate that doesn’t require sweaters and jackets. In 2013 while living in NYC I was getting deeply enthralled by the fashion industry. Then the Bangladesh factory fire happened that killed 1,134 people. My rose colored glasses were ripped off and suddenly all I could see in the fashion industry was pain and exploitation.

Now, almost 10 years later I’m still finding myself questioning the fashion industry. NEW TRASH is an expression of my frustrations about the waste, exploitation and suffering that this multi-billion dollar industry continues to create.

The Process

This series actually started with a poem – or rather, a few words. Then I had one of those 4am creative ideas for the images. I sourced the clothing used in this project from friends and community members. Everything was either returned or donated. Once I had all the clothing together I worked with 2 models to create the images. We talked about the fact that the fashion industry is so disposable. How both resources and human lives are treated as expendable. The models I chose for this project are both creatives in their own right. And I wanted to give them space to express themselves. Making this a collaborative process.

Visual Treatment

The visual aspect of this project could have gone a million ways. I considered going dark and dingy. Blurry and mysterious. But that didn’t feel right. Because on the face of it the fast fashion industry is bright, it pops with contrast and color. So I ended up lighting these images with bright big soft light and a blue cast to add some additional dimension and a cool mood.

Credits:

Photographer: Ella Sophie
Models: Sophia Hammond & Alisa Jade

See more of my personal work here

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