The Dark Side of Fashion
The “Fast Fashion. The Dark Side of Fashion” exhibition illustrates the backgrounds of the globalised production of fashion. It deals with production mechanisms, with economic and social aspects, but also with environmental issues.
The term “fast fashion” denotes a corporate strategy which aims to bring new fashion into the shops at ever shorter intervals. Classic fashion segments such as haute couture, ready-to-wear and medium-priced off-the-peg clothes limit themselves to two collections a year, whereas cheap labels launch up to twelve collections within the same period of time. These companies aim to draw the media’s attention to themselves, to lure primarily young customers into the shops and to animate them to make purchases.
If consumers and commerce profit from the masses of fashion articles put on the market at bargain prices, many of those involved in the production process have to pay a high price: long working days with minimum wages determine the lives of the textile workers who produce cheap fashion under sometimes disastrous conditions. They have no social security and educational opportunities. Health problems and environmental pollution are the consequences of a corporate policy that is ruthlessly geared to profit maximisation.
By way of a reaction to the grievances of fast fashion, which after the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013 was increasingly focused on by the media, the Slow Fashion movement has emerged in the last few years. Closer scrutiny reveals, however, that the complex global problems are resisting simple and quick solutions. And thus consumers who make an effort to display ethically and ecologically correct behaviour when buying clothes are exposed to many pitfalls, which the Swiss cartoonist Ruedi Widmer comments on with his usual acerbic wit. Other artists besides Widmer are represented in the exhibition, including the Bengali photographer and activist Taslima Akhter, the dance director Helena Waldmann and the Swiss performance artist Andrea Vogel; they all cast a critical light on fast fashion and its consequences, and their works constitute a personal comment on the well-founded factual information.
An exhibition of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg in the Textile Museum St.Gallen
Public Eye is the cooperation partner of the exhibition in the Textile Museum St.Gallen
Supported by the Karin Stilke Stiftung, the Steinegg Stiftung and many more