5 Artists Who Show the Dark Side of Fast Fashion

5 Artists Who Show the Dark Side of Fast Fashion

By | Leyla Hattabi

Fast fashion, often associated with trendiness, describes the speed at which clothing companies produce and sell their products in order to capture an ever-changing consumer base. Back in the mid-1990’s Americans purchased about 28 items of clothing per year. Now, SHEIN adds 6,000 new styles to their website every day! 

Although widely successful in the past, fast fashion has been shunned in recent years due to many ethical transgressions including the exploitation of workers and an increase in the amount of clothing being thrown away, as well as other environmental red flags. 

The reality is much more troubling than most shoppers realize, though some visual artists are aiming to show just how troubling in order to bring attention to both labor and environmental issues in the fast fashion industry.

Read on to discover 5 artistic activists to follow now! 

Aditi Mayer (@aditimayer)

Aditi Mayer Photo from vogue

Source: Vogue

Who are they?

Aditi Mayer has contributed to the fast fashion discussion as a sustainable fashion blogger, photojournalist and labor rights activist. 

Her work is intended to bring awareness to both workers at garment factories and consumers who buy these clothes. She argues that we should make informed choices about what we purchase, where it comes from, who makes it, and how it is produced.

Projects/ Artworks to check out

Photojournalism: Inside the fight to end labor exploitation in L.A. garment factories

Photojournalism: Matriarch 

Group show installations: Dirty Laundry at SLOMA

Minga Opazo (@mingaopazo)

Minga Opazo photo

Source: Minga Opazo

Who are they?

Chilean LA based artist Minga Opazo takes a scientific approach to her goal of making visible what some cannot see: how fast fashion has infiltrated global trade and decimated local textiles industries around the world.

Fungal Threads is Minga's latest project which incorporates grass, dirt, and textiles into towering vertical stacks, with works like Core Sample (2020) and Terron (2021). Her work not only acknowledges the unjust socio-cultural and environmental damage caused by the textile industry, but actively takes steps to find a way to break down discarded clothes.

Projects/ Artworks to check out

Artwork: Public Matter

Group show installations: Dirty Laundry at SLOMA

Alicia Piller (@thereal.aliciapiller)

Alicia Piller photo

Source: Alicia Piller

Who are they?

While working in the fashion industry; living a decade in NYC and three and a half years in Santa Fe, Alicia Piller cultivated her distinctive sculptural voice: “Attempting to reconcile questions about the current state of our times, I envision historical traumas, both political and environmental, through the lens of a microscope.” 

In her sculptural pieces, Piller often uses discarded clothing items to evoke a feeling of destruction and rebirth. Through her art, she aims to highlight how clothing is used as a tool for human oppression, and how fast-fashion companies contribute to this cycle. 

She works to connect fashion and identity in a way that encourages viewers to look beyond its aesthetic value and instead see it as a way to express ourselves and our social, political, and economic realities.

Projects/ Artworks to check out

Artwork: ‘Stabilizing Temperatures, Break Cycles, Curb Disasters.’

Group show installations: Dirty Laundry at SLOMA

Mattias Käll (@mattiaskallart)

Source: Mattias Käll

Who are they?

Mattias Käll is a Sweden based illustrator and artist passionate about tackling injustices in our world. He believes art has a great potential to draw attention to important issues and create meaningful conversations. 

His work captures people's attention and makes them think twice about the negative impacts of fast fashion to inspire them to think differently about clothes they purchase and their overall consumption habits.

Projects/ Artworks to check out

Project: Cheap clothes

Artwork: Micro II - The Water Sculpture

Suzie Blake (@suzieblakeshoots)

Source: Suzie Blake

Who are they?

Artworks are often a window into an artist’s imagination and a dark tunnel into society’s ills. Blood Mountain is no exception. In this harrowing installation by Suzie Blake, we see an incredible portrayal of our relationship with fast fashion.

The Australian artist’s practice is rooted in a deep respect for the power and intelligence of nature, as well as a commitment to exploring alternative ways of making art that recognise our connection to both human and ecological systems.

Projects/ Artworks to check out

Artwork: Blood Mountain

Project: Blood Mountain Part II


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