San Luis Obispo Museum of Art explores origins, consequences, and solutions to fast fashion in new exhibition
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San Luis Obispo Museum of Art explores origins, consequences, and solutions to fast fashion in new exhibition
Alicia Piller, Consumption. Overproduction. Saturating Landscapes. This artificial landscape is a turf of recycled materials embedded with elements of the fast fashion world, as well as works from Piller’s own fashion background, implicating herself within this conversation. The inclusion of Piller’s hand holding cotton, hand-picked in Georgia, pulls American history into the conversation, acknowledging the roots of our own nation’s wealth, while also speaking to the legacy of destructive labor practices within this industry.



SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.- The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is presenting Dirty Laundry, a group exhibition that delves into the vast problems of “fast fashion” through a series of multimedia and site-specific works. Fast fashion refers to the growing industry that mass produces cheap clothes to meet an insatiable global demand, a manufacturing model in which clothes are designed, fabricated, and sold quickly to keep up with the ever-changing trends. The model is not only wasteful – with the average American throwing away 70 pounds of clothing a year – but detrimental to human rights and the preservation of our environment. The exhibition brings together work by California-based artists to advance the conversation about this pressing issue, and offer sustainable practices and solutions. Dirty Laundry has been on view since December 2, 2022 and will continue through February 27, 2023.

Through mixed-media work, artists Carole Frances Lung, Aditi Mayer, Minga Opazo, Alicia Piller, and Sommer Roman seek to engage, educate, and enlighten visitors through works that are inspired by fast fashion and its implications. Exhibition highlights include:

• Large-scale, woven, basket-like sculptures by Minga Opazo. Made with mycelium, a root-like fungus, these sculptures are part of the artist’s ongoing research exploring a variety of mushrooms that can breakdown synthetic fibers and decompose clothing made from plastics and chemicals. Opazo also installed a site-specific installation made of layered earth and clothing that visitors are invited to lay upon.

• A selection of photojournalism works by Aditi Mayer that focus on the garment worker industry in LA and India, touching on protests by garment workers and potential solutions for sustainable fashion manufacturing.




• A monumental, site-specific installation by Alicia Piller that responds to the architecture of the gallery. The work looks at global and historical issues tied to fast fashion, using found objects from the fashion industry. Piller’s sculptures take the form of cellular structures, playing with the idea of looking at these issues through a microscopic lens to create better practices and outcomes.

• The third volume of Carole Frances Lung’s Pins & Needles newspaper that explores the fashion industry’s pitfalls. Visitors can take editions and learn about issues tied to fast fashion and consumerism.

• San Luis Obispo-based artist Sommer Ronan’s biomorphic sculptures. Made from post- consumer textiles, they explore humans’ relationship with the natural world.

The exhibition looks at the way that while on the surface fast fashion may seem contained, it has implications that are in fact far-reaching. The industry contributes to racial and gender inequality by exporting its production overseas to factories that disproportionately employ underpaid women. Environmentally, fast fashion leads to the consumption of 10% of all water used industrially and 20% of wastewater created globally. Once the clothes are made, they are largely consumed by the global north – notably the US, Europe, and Australia – and they are then returned to the global south – countries like Ghana and Chile – and buried in landfills, where they will take thousands of years to biodegrade. The exhibition brings together artists who are both deeply engaged with this industry, and committed to proposing solutions through their practice. Through this exhibition, visitors are invited to turn an eye to their own practices, and to think about the ways in which we can all contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world.

In conjunction with the exhibition, SLOMA is presenting a panel discussion with artist Minga Opazo in conversation with Danielle Stevenson about mushrooms as a solution to textile waste. The Museum will also co-host Art After Dark with Cal Poly Sustainable Fashion Club on February 3, 2023. Additional details and admissions information can be found on the museum’s website.










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