Slow Choke of Fast Fashion by University of the Arts London

This data experience compares our near ravenous appetite for cheap polyester clothes fuelled by fast fashion brands against the slowness of it’s discard and decay.

The pile — a comparison
Two piles of ground plastic flakes are placed on the floor, one larger than the other to represent the quantity of clothes produced vs. discarded on landfills every second. One piece of polyester clothing is represented by one gram of these flakes. Plastic was used as an indexical reference to represent polyester. These flakes are ground from used milk cans (HDPE) and are recyclable.

The thread — a timeline
I used twine as material to depict the timeline of a piece of cloth as it goes from production, usage, to discard. 1 cm of twine represents one week. At the edge of the production pile, the thread is twisted around a small piece of wood to represent the two weeks taken by fast fashion brands to go from design to manufacturing a new line of apparel.

Finally, once the cloth has reached the landfill, it stays there, slowly decomposing for a seemingly endless 200 years. To depict this massive difference in time, I used 104 metres (2 x 52 weeks) of twine that is interleaved wall to wall, creating a large, ominous form that seems like threads of a cloth loosened and falling apart.

The discord in this work captures the contrasts between fast and slow, the shortness of our desires and the longness of their consequences.

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