By stitching second hand garments together – an old H&M sundress with a home made Shanghai shirt – these pieces reflect upon the need for us to consider the disconnect that exists between the people in the supply chain. The H&M Buying Office staff I worked with in Stockholm are very much removed from the decisions made by staff in the Production Offices in China. Sustainability concerns often exist within large fashion companies but the organisational infrastructure may prevent change taking place at the speed that is required.
For these pieces I continued to explore the upcycling of polyester shirts and exhaust transfer printing - here using over-printing and stitch to create a quilted jacket full of symbolism and messages for a young Swedish consumer, inspired by the Hundred Family Jacket. The design of dragons, horses and flowers has been hand drawn and painted, fusing visual research from Dong Hua Museum in Shanghai, the Ming Dynasty artifacts at the British Museum in London and folk textiles from museums in Stockholm..
Isabel Dodd stitched into the first print design to bind the monomaterial fabric layers together, making the sculptural garment warmer, more durable and adding more decorative surface detailing inside and out. I wanted to turn the simple, inexpensive yellow Shanghai shirt into something of much higher value, and potentially imbue it with greater meaning, significance and emotional durability for the owner.
The second paper print went onto a subsequent item - a crepe jacket - and produced a paler, more faded effect. Karen Spurgin then hand stitched into the jacket, using naturally dyes threads. She also stitched into the hand painted papers, creating beautiful artworks from the 'waste' created in the print process.