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June 19, 2006 7:07 PM   Subscribe

365 days. One brown dress. A one-woman show against fashion. "So, here's the deal - I made this dress and I'm wearing it every day for a year. I'll throw snowballs in it (wearing additional clothing layers in cold weather for health & safety), garden in it, rehearse in it, travel in it, dance in it, cook in it, prune my pear trees in it, drink wine in it, sing my baby to sleep in it." The project was launched July 7th of last year and is nearing completion.
posted by arcticwoman (106 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hmmmm... Amish?
posted by Doohickie at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2006


Hmmmm....awesome? The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention and totally ridiculous. Bravo!
posted by lunalaguna at 7:16 PM on June 19, 2006


I wonder; if you had to use a laundromat to wash it every day, would that negate all the money you saved not buying new clothes?

I would have picked something with pants, myself.
posted by emjaybee at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2006


Project? Sure. Choice? Sure. Experiment? Sure. Interesting thing to document? Sure. Cool idea? Sure. Performance? Please explain.
posted by Jimbob at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2006


I wonder; if you had to use a laundromat to wash it every day, would that negate all the money you saved not buying new clothes?

Hygiene is just a fabrication of the dominant hegemony.
posted by drpynchon at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Is there something about artists that compels them to only display thumbnails? You see this phenomenon chiefly on photography sites, as though mere viewers are undeserving of moderate-resolution pictures. But here's another artist of another medium entirely, and nonetheless everything is in Patented MicroVision.

I think it's a neat idea, but I'm not sure what the point of documenting it with such microscopic pictures is.
posted by majick at 7:30 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I like the idea. I'm wondering if she had a statement intended. I spent about 10 minutes on the site, but couldn't find one. Did anybody see something about what she's trying to say by wearing the dress everyday?
posted by Titania at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention

Umm, no.

-- Signed, Thog, the caveman inventor of warpaint
posted by frogan at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2006


Hygiene is just a fabrication of the dominant hegemony.
posted by drpynchon at 9:29 PM CST on June 19 [+fave] [!]


Yeah, we totally need a paradigm shift
posted by cellphone at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2006


I like the idea. I'm wondering if she had a statement intended. I spent about 10 minutes on the site, but couldn't find one. Did anybody see something about what she's trying to say by wearing the dress everyday?
posted by Titania


From the link, about halfway down the page:

artist's statement

(Written in September 2005)

I am making one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days.

In this performance, I intend to reject our sweat-shop-supporting economy of over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting. Clothes are certainly part of this image, and the expectation is immense. The economic resources required to regularly purchase newly-manufactured clothing in retail stores are staggering – a hundred dollars for one new shirt?

As a brand new working mom with a new family budget, these economies are coming sharply into focus for me. Even my beloved second-hand shopping requires time, effort, and energy that saps my attention from the more vital parts of my life – being with my family, making artwork, tending the garden, growing my community, keeping a watchful eye on the government, reading new books, learning new skills, singing new songs . . . I intend to make good use of my energy saved!

Influences - The project is influenced in part by the art/anti-fashion movement “Grey Sweatsuit Revolution”, in which participants attend a social event or public gathering wearing un-flattering sweatsuits as a statement against fashion trends and dictums. It is also inspired by my view of our brothers and sisters who are citizens of the third-world, many of whom literally do not have a change of clothes. Historically, I am bolstered and supported by the generations of human beings living in every part of the world before the industrial revolution, who wore day after day, year after year, only what they or their family members could weave, sew, or knit by hand.
posted by dejah420 at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention and totally ridiculous.

Huh? What's your definition of "recent?" We've been using clothing, tattoos, piercings, and hairstyles to establish everything from social status to tribal identity for at least two millenia now. Heck, we pay less attention to fashion now than we did, say, four centuries ago throughout Europe.

Hygiene is just a fabrication of the dominant hegemony.

Tell it to the plague rats.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2006


It's actually a nice dress. I like the project but was there any way for people to know that it was actually a project and not just a quirk?
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2006


Maybe it would have been a stronger statement if it was a more shapeless sack or something? Something completely disfiguring or obscuring?
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2006


It's funny how the only people who seem to hate sweat-shops are people who live in first world countries and have no trouble supporting their families.
Not all sweat shops mistreat workers, and there are plenty of people for whom the choice between "paltry source of income" and "no source of income" is a simple one.
posted by nightchrome at 7:55 PM on June 19, 2006


Influences - The project is influenced in part by the art/anti-fashion movement “Grey Sweatsuit Revolution”, in which participants attend a social event or public gathering wearing un-flattering sweatsuits as a statement against fashion trends and dictums.

I, for one, look fabulous in a grey sweatsuit.
posted by madajb at 8:05 PM on June 19, 2006


She has like 4 or 5 copies of the dress, right?

Also, this reminded me of dumb things my friends and I would do as teens, one of which was wear the same shirt every day until the other guy gave up and you won. I think I got about two weeks at my maximum but I know people that went almost six months wearing the same shirt (they would often wear a different shirt under it, but the same shirt was on top, every day).
posted by mathowie at 8:08 PM on June 19, 2006


I don't know if I saw this on the Internet or not, but I remember something about a woman who did something really similar. Every day for a year she wore the same pair of jeans and a white t-shirt that had a picture of her wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. And every day she took a picture of herself wearing the outfit.
posted by peep at 8:10 PM on June 19, 2006


Also, this reminded me of dumb things my friends and I would do as teens, one of which was wear the same shirt every day until the other guy gave up and you won.

You guys must have gotten more ass than a toilet seat back then.
posted by drpynchon at 8:11 PM on June 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


It's funny how the only people who seem to hate sweat-shops are people who live in first world countries and have no trouble supporting their families.

You seem to think that she's just saying "close down the factories because they're icky!" instead of "pay and treat your workers decently!" or perhaps "we don't really need all these crappy clothes anyway!"

I live in a first world country but have some trouble supporting my family...partly because I do have to buy so many damn clothes to work in an office. And I hate sweat shops, because oddly enough, I don't like to think of 9 year olds being chained to sewing machines, and yes I do think it would be possible to clothe us all without that happening. Why is there never any better answer (because it's not a solution) to third world poverty than sweat shops? Are we so lacking in imagination that we can't come up with a fairer way of doing business?
posted by emjaybee at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2006


I thought this was pretty cool. And I dig the sentiment behind it.

We do suck up that consumerism, don't we? I like how she has, for one year, made a statement about how we don't need to be slaves to that.

And yes, I would call her project a kind of performance art.
posted by darkstar at 8:17 PM on June 19, 2006


emjaybee: So while you're busy coming up with a better way, how do the now-unemployed shop workers keep from starving to death? Foreign aid sure does not seem to be working all that well.
I'm not advocating child labor, or forced labor (chained to a sewing machine? come on). You cannot possibly think that "sweat shop" means "forced labor camp for children". These people need the means to survive. You may hate the conditions they're working under, you may hate the (comparatively) small wages they're given, but until you come up with something else that keeps them alive, they're gonna keep working. If you get their shop closed down because it offends your sensibilities, without providing them with a better means of survival, you're doing more harm than good.
posted by nightchrome at 8:27 PM on June 19, 2006


Influences - The project is influenced in part by the art/anti-fashion movement “Grey Sweatsuit Revolution”

Previously discussed derided here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:33 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I thought we'd all be wearing our shiny silver unisex jumpsuits by 2006.

As for the project, I like it. I like it alot.

Peep, if you find that project online please share.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:45 PM on June 19, 2006


Maybe it would have been a stronger statement if it was a more shapeless sack or something?

Her statement seems to be that we shouldn't put so much energy into clothing because it ultimately doesn't matter. A dress is a pretty low-maintainence wardrobe that wouldn't attract a lot of attention. A shapeles sack sounds like a high-maintainence wardrobe that would attract a lot of attention.
posted by scottreynen at 8:46 PM on June 19, 2006


I think any credibility gained by resisting the (perceived) pressure to own & wear 1,001 outfits is pretty much cancelled out by pretentiously labelling this act as a "performance project". A better term for it is "not being a complete fucking idiot".

Over here, I've been rotating the same 5 identical white business shirts & the same 2 identical black trousers all year, with one single tie to accessorise. Do you think anybody notices or cares or even bothers to comment? People way overstate the supposed pressures of fashion.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 PM on June 19, 2006


Hygiene is just a fabrication of the dominant hegemony.
posted by drpynchon at 9:29 PM CST on June 19 [+fave] [!]

Yeah, we totally need a paradigm shift
posted by cellphone at 7:38 PM PST on June 19 [+fave] [!]


I, myself, have not used soap in the last three years. Just call me the posterchild for the scratch'n'sniff revolution!

(I wash my hair though. With conditioner. Because I am a girl)
posted by Sparx at 8:53 PM on June 19, 2006


It is an interesting idea but it is also a pretty butt ass ugly dress (which is why I think the photos are so small).

Ubu, so, anyone who wears different clothes everyday is a complete fucking idiot? Funny how you're excluded because of your wardrobe. And yes, people notice that you wear the same clothes (or same looking) everyday but they are probably too embarassed to say anything to you about it. Don't kid yourself, people notice.
posted by fenriq at 8:55 PM on June 19, 2006


how do the now-unemployed shop workers keep from starving to death?

The same way the now-unemployed shop workers did it when we closed down sweatshops in the developed world: they unionize, diversify their economy, and put pressure on consumers and governments to enforce fair labor practices.
posted by scottreynen at 8:55 PM on June 19, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention

Umm, no.

-- Signed, Thog, the caveman inventor of warpaint


Think again, Thog. You and I both know where that idea came from.

-- Signed, the peacock.
posted by ChasFile at 8:58 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


It would be nice if we could see more then thumbnails. The pictures are to small to see anything, really.
posted by delmoi at 9:02 PM on June 19, 2006


I guess I'm an artist, too.
posted by mazola at 9:02 PM on June 19, 2006


I think the "ooh look at me I am freed from the bonds of consumerism" hipster bullshit is just that, but this appeals to my minimalism. Our own adamgreenfield once wrote:
...but in point of fact the only genuine minimalist I know is my friend Anthony, who's worn a series of identical pack-of-three-for-$10 black t-shirts since college and keeps the entire stuff of his life in a decidedly unglamorous East Village studio.
The idea of finding one decent set of clothes, buying a dozen of it, and wearing that and nothing else, has a certain pull.

I don't like to think of 9 year olds being chained to sewing machines

I don't buy this. Cite, please?posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2006


And yes, people notice that you wear the same clothes (or same looking) everyday but they are probably too embarassed to say anything to you about it. Don't kid yourself, people notice.

This is true, just last week one of the Midget Squad (two hyperactive 6 year old girls who catch the same morning bus as me) asked me why I wore the same jersey all the time. "Because I'm poor," I told her. And then she told the rest of the busstop that I was, in fact, poor, and asked her mommy for two bucks, so she could buy me a new jersey.

But the joke was on her - because I actually have some other jerseys, they're just not as comfy. Death before discomfort has always been my motto - and let the dogs of public opinion hang.
posted by Sparx at 9:11 PM on June 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Performance? Please explain.

She's a dancer. She performs dances based on her brown dress research, and also does "guerilla alterations to the clothing of audience members" (awesome idea -- she's a gifted seamstress, and I bet she does cool things).

She has like 4 or 5 copies of the dress, right?

Apparently she originally had two (scroll down to the August 1 entry). She doesn't talk about the second one later, though, which leads me to believe she ended up using just one.

Her journal is interesting. She's going about this in a principled and thoughtful way, and she's fully aware of how bizarre it is. Before dismissing her, you might try actually reading what she has to say.

I'd love to go to her undressing party, but it's the same weekend as Country Fair.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2006


Twenty years--colored tee shirts with a left-front pocket for cell phone or whatever else cool they invent, Levies, suspenders on the inside but over the tee shirt, colored Hawaiian shirt on the outside, New Balance tennis shoes, and white socks. Year around, all the time here in California.

And?

And.... I hope for more cranky years to come. Old guys rule!

Chicks are so, "Is this creative yet?" or Does this art make my ass look big?"
posted by BillyElmore at 9:14 PM on June 19, 2006


Over here, I've been rotating the same 5 identical white business shirts & the same 2 identical black trousers all year, with one single tie to accessorise. Do you think anybody notices or cares or even bothers to comment? People way overstate the supposed pressures of fashion.

In fairness, though, you do have to admit that these things are slightly different when it comes to women. I'd say before you excoriate these irrascible cry-babies whom are so quick to decry the injustices of sweat shops out of one side of their mouths while out the other drool descends excorably toward a new pair of Jimmy Choo's, maybe it might be fair to strap on a pair and take them for a hike.

I've worked in several offices and have known not a single female officer who wore a solitary accessory or owned only two dresses. Sure, many dressed simply, but there was always rotation, and at the very least seasonality. Further, none of the women that didn't "dress to impress" seemed to rank much higher than "project coordinator" (Side rant - since when did "coordinator" replace "secretary" as the new code for "female functionary"?) in accounts recievable. And if there was a woman who didn't do that, well, that shit stands out. Admit it: every office has one or two or three women who NEVER change. You can picture them in your head right now, can't you? Odds are that woman owns more clothes than half the men she works with. Yet still, she stands out.

Bias it surely is, so let's be real a minute and not prematurely pat ourselves on the back for a the kind of threading frugality that is lauded as "consistent, clean, classic, conservative," and other business-friendly 'c' words on men that exercised similarly on a businesswoman's wardrobe would be considered a sign of laziness and a lack of professionalism.
posted by ChasFile at 9:17 PM on June 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Well said, ChasFile.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:20 PM on June 19, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention

there is no reasonable definition of "recent" by which this statement could be seen as true.

but clothing as an extension of identity is an unfortunate thing and I like this girl's moxie.

and quite possibly the cut of her gib.
posted by shmegegge at 9:26 PM on June 19, 2006


I wonder how much water and energy she saves (or wastes?) compared to buying and wearing different pieces of clothing. Washing the dress every night or almost every night vs. the water and energy consumed in making fabric, sewing pieces together, distributing it, etc. I wonder which way comes out more economical? And if she could get away without washing it more than a few times a week.
posted by jiawen at 9:31 PM on June 19, 2006


I had no idea my shorts were performance arts.
posted by tkolar at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2006


Ubu, so, anyone who wears different clothes everyday is a complete fucking idiot?

That's not exactly what I said, but I tend to overstate my initial position, anyway. It's more that people who feel compelled to have a heap of different outfits that they can rotate slowly or combine in multiple permutations so as not to get caught out wearing the same thing twice within recent memory are complete fucking idiots.

I regard the Charlie Brown approach as a cynical opposite extreme. I personally like to think of it as a performance project, and assume that anybody who notices is not "too embarassed" to comment, but actually admires my devil-may-care artistry. Aside from that, having attended a suit-&-tie high school, the concept of a work uniform fits comfortably. Work is only work & I see no reason why it ought to be turned into a fashion parade.

on preview: yes, it is probably quite different for women. I will not bother speculating why. From my comment you could pretty safely assume I was talking from a male perspective.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2006


er, "performance art"
posted by tkolar at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2006


Wearing a uniform does not seem a particularly incisive statement about anything. Even when it's a uniform of your own design.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:39 PM on June 19, 2006


Russian Fashion Show — classic 1980's Wendy's commercial (via IFilm.)

Dayvear! Eveningvear! Svimvear! Very nice...
posted by cenoxo at 9:44 PM on June 19, 2006


I can't remember the name of the essay but I believe Michel Foucault once wrote that uniforms, for example those worn by soldiers, might actually foster individualism in the wearers. The idea being that the more usual avenue of seeking a false sense of individuality through clothing is closed off, and people are forced to seek more genuine methods of making themselves different from their fellows.

Or I may have Foucault's argument completely backward. It was a long time ago.
posted by Ritchie at 10:00 PM on June 19, 2006


UbuRoivas said: It's more that people who feel compelled to have a heap of different outfits ... are complete fucking idiots.

yes, it is probably quite different for women.



I see.
posted by dejah420 at 10:04 PM on June 19, 2006


heh There was no need for UbuRoivas to state that he has a male perspective. We knew that.
posted by Cranberry at 10:16 PM on June 19, 2006


She doesn't want to wear anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a project, she doesn't want to do that.

There's a commercial on US television these days for a badass washer/dryer with some sort of steam pressing feature. It shows the girl going around and doing active stuff all day, and then after throwing the dress she's been wearing the whole time into the badass steamer thing for a few minutes, she goes out to dinner in the same dress. Perhaps something of that nature is in play here as well.
posted by First Post at 10:16 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


From all appearances, China is working hard on that "Uniformity is Individuality" principle.
(More of Edward Burtynsky's China — Manufacturing images here.)
posted by cenoxo at 10:19 PM on June 19, 2006


I knew a guy who wore the same pair of glasses he had forst gotten in Junior High -- godawful things that were now too small for his face. I thought he was simply phobic about change, but now I realize how avant guard he was.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:30 PM on June 19, 2006


It would be more nearly correct to say that denigrating the practice of expressing one's identity through clothing and adornment is a recent invention. Though I'd guess Diogenes, if he had an opinion on it, would have been in that camp.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:32 PM on June 19, 2006


Most performance art leaves me cold, but this is quite excellent.

Her perspective on the implications of the consume at any cost culture of the first world versus the third world's bare subsistence standard of living offers a telling juxtaposition.

While vastly different sartorial standards for men and women is hardly news to most observers, her efforts also ad sharper focus to effects of this dichotomy .
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:41 PM on June 19, 2006


I wouldn't mind having nothing but a pile of black tshirts and a pile of identical jeans to wear to work everyday.

Instead, I have a pile of identical jeans and a pile of different-colorted tshirts.
posted by mrbill at 10:44 PM on June 19, 2006


dejah420: The principle applies to both sexes. The difference is one of degree, not kind. One can either succumb to the (differential) pressure to have a large & varied wardrobe, or one can have the balls to resist.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:44 PM on June 19, 2006


Not much new under the sun: Fops, Dandies, and Macaronies.
posted by cenoxo at 10:56 PM on June 19, 2006


Urgh. This is pretty small beans. It's also not a really a "performance". The only time she's performing is when she's a dancer and then she actually wears a dance costumer.

It's certainly art. Dull art, yes, but art. But a performance? You need to perform. Just wearing an article of clothing is not a performance.

Actually, I don't care whether it's a performance or not. It's dull.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:09 PM on June 19, 2006


Who needs more than one T-shirt and a pair of jeans, really?
posted by MythMaker at 11:10 PM on June 19, 2006


I hate "fashion" and love this project. Good for her.
posted by BoringPostcards at 11:18 PM on June 19, 2006


There's a commercial on US television these days for a badass washer/dryer with some sort of steam pressing feature. It shows the girl going around and doing active stuff all day, and then after throwing the dress she's been wearing the whole time into the badass steamer thing for a few minutes, she goes out to dinner in the same dress.
posted by First Post


And as much as I hate fashion, etc, I love that commercial.
posted by BoringPostcards at 11:21 PM on June 19, 2006


I am making one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days.

Being stylish does not necessarily imply being a rabid consumer.
There are plenty of people who don't conduct themselves as mindless consumers and dress well. Inversely, there are plenty of dirt poor 3rd worldians dressing way better than your average fat-ass 'Merican.

The problem is that people follow their consumerist impulses when dressing themselves - the worst is often school age kids who think largely in terms of brand names. A large majority of people later just completely don't think about how they dress. If you don't believe me go outside and have a gander.

As a brand new working mom with a new family budget, these economies are coming sharply into focus for me.

Right. "I am mother hear me roar." Am I the only one annoyed by the feigned enlightenment and self righteousness implied here? The "I've got better things to do than think of how I look" BS. The "oh, how great and important I am because I do (and buy) things now for a baby and not myself.

The project is influenced in part by the art/anti-fashion movement “Grey Sweatsuit Revolution

The Grey Sweatsuit movement, while claiming to be subversive, is actually championing what you see everyday you step out on the street here in 'Merica - "generic and very comfortable."

Grey Sweatsuit Mission Statement
What’s hot for next season? How about the death of your vanity?

The ultimate rebellion is to be generic and very comfortable. Fuck using clothes as a form of expression.


Is this not already the case in the US of A.? Judging from the khakis, polos, and other golf-type, lounge-in-your-sofa wear most people wear, I would say, as did Our Leader the Decider - "Mission Accomplished." We left our vanity behind long ago..

And honestly, as if artists aren't the worst and filthiest marketing sluts that exist. Pandering to anybody who will follow their lead. And "but, no. I prance around and dance and try to moralize to others how they should dress in a shit colored dress for 365 days" is not a valid counter argument.

But, while I assume that the Grey Sweatsuits are rather tongue-in-cheek, our Mrs. Brown Dress is on a mission from God. Singing songs and keeping an eye on our government and all...

All I can say is good luck to her child. It doesn't sound like that kid is getting any toys to play with... Or maybe she will whittle wooden toys and sew a brown bear out of her old dress for lil'junior.

Can somebody explain what she means by growing my community?
posted by pwedza at 11:25 PM on June 19, 2006


From the FAQ:
Do I wash the dress? Of course. Often, I throw the dress in the washer when I go to bed, and then pop it in the dryer first thing in the morning so its dry by the time I get dressed. One good thing about doing this project this year, while my son is an infant - there is ALWAYS a load of dirty laundry ready for the washer . . .
posted by obloquy at 11:26 PM on June 19, 2006


Metafilter: I guess I'm an artist, too.
posted by casconed at 11:51 PM on June 19, 2006


Fashion is about making much ado about nothing.

So is what she's doing.

Seems more alike than different to me.

She's just selling a different product.
posted by HTuttle at 11:57 PM on June 19, 2006


This woman has missed the big picture here. Where's the one-click link to me having my own Little Brown Dress? This idea is very cultish but needs development. She could have her own "LBD" label and produce an entire line. LBDSport, LBD-Him, LBD-LG (Lolita Gothic)...
posted by missbossy at 12:06 AM on June 20, 2006


"Fashion" per se is well worth protesting for its excess, expense, and rabid worship of transient fads.

However, in between "fasion" and "wearing the same shit brown sack for a year" there is a large region called "variety is the spice of life" which this act also serves to protest.

Why do we not ingest only vitamin pills and synthesized protein goo? Because food is too wonderful to pass up. Why do we listen to different music one week to the next? Because our minds need stimulation. Why not just reduce every aspect of life to mere utilitarian adequacy? Because life would be so much more ugly.

This little statement seems like a waste to me.
posted by scarabic at 12:12 AM on June 20, 2006


good post though!
posted by scarabic at 12:13 AM on June 20, 2006


Honestly, if I don't have a different matching set of spats and waistcoat for every day of the week I shall just die.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:13 AM on June 20, 2006


Why can't people act out their liberal guilt in more practical ways, like cleaning the streets or working in the public sector? Who the fuck cares if she wears a dress for a year when our whole economy is about to collapse because we have all our goods made overseas at a huge cost?

Call me jaded, but I'm now more impressed by people who are incredibly giving in society, not by foolish, selfish performance acts and aimless protests.
posted by Down10 at 12:21 AM on June 20, 2006


I like her dress. It looks comfortable.

I've had sweaters I've worn just about as much, and until recently my two pairs of trousers were the same design.

But I don't understand why she minds sewing buttons - buttons are so easy to sew, and you have to do that just as often with other clothing. Maybe she's using cotton thread - that breaks very easily. She needs to use 100% polyster thread, even with cotton clothes. It lasts.
posted by jb at 12:33 AM on June 20, 2006


Good Lord. Is this what I should be worrying about now? That people have too many clothes? I am sympathtic to the sweat shop argument, except that if everybody took this woman's approach, there would be no jobs manufacturing clothes in the entire world.

Great. So now we replace bad third-world jobs with a lack of third-world jobs. That's progress. Has no-one thought that trying to improve the working conditions for these people might be a better approach than depriving them of their livelihood?

How about we all eat pabulum made from locally-available grain as well? We'd hate to have people enjoy themselves in any aesthetic way. We must also put ashes in our food to make sure we don't enjoy it.

I really don't get it when so many obviously privileged people get up in arms about the desire of others to look nice. Sheesh.
posted by lackutrol at 12:38 AM on June 20, 2006


1adam12, I hope you do have matching spats and waistcoats for every day of the week, 'cause that would be fun. Me, I mix and match, but to each his own.
posted by lackutrol at 12:44 AM on June 20, 2006


Why can't people act out their liberal guilt in more practical ways, like cleaning the streets or working in the public sector?

She may do that as well. (Do you?) Just because she wears the same dress every day doesn't mean that wearing the same dress every day is the only thing she does. She is a mother and an event organizer and a choreographer and a founder of a dance studio. And maybe she's a dozen other things. This dress bit is just one thing.

But a private act (such as anonymously picking up the trash she sees on the street) is limited to that street and her necessarily small effort, while a public act (a performance) like the dress bit can get many people in many places thinking and talking about something. Like we are doing now. See. It worked.

Why not just reduce every aspect of life to mere utilitarian adequacy? Because life would be so much more ugly.

Don't simplistically misinterpret her as saying we should all wear one brown dress every day of our lives. That's just an extreme used to make a point. I'm sure she will go back to wearing a variety of things afterwards.

But if you did insist on being literal about the thing, you could really do what she does long-term but add short-term variety. Clothes wear out. If a dress wears out after a year of constant use, you could buy seven different dresses now and wear a different one every day of the week for the next seven years. Or buy seven different tops and bottoms and know that you can wear a different combination every day for 49 days.

Just don't buy what you're supposed to buy, what has been proclaimed in this season, and don't toss good clothes aside only because they have been proclaimed out this season. Buy well-made, comfortable clothes that will look good on you for as long as they physically last you, and wear them for that long. Don't be a fashion sheep.
posted by pracowity at 1:43 AM on June 20, 2006


This thread depresses teh fuck out of me. Didn't anyone here take even a basic Art History 101 class?

It's a mimic of 1960s' PERFORMANCE ART. No one knows of HAPPENINGS?!! Anyone? Joseph Beuys? Gilbert and George?

"ART FOR ART'S SAKE". Google it already. This was a very mainstream circumstance only 45 years ago...the culmination and manifestation of modernism and avant-garde.

If this woman had done this performance in the 60s', she'd be perceived as a genius and you'd all be sucking her cock.
posted by naxosaxur at 2:00 AM on June 20, 2006


I'm doing the same project, but with a twist. I wear the same underwear every day for a year. It's called the Fruit Of The Loom project, and I'll be documenting it on my web site.
posted by fixedgear at 2:10 AM on June 20, 2006


So, an artist is protesting another form of art?

Not to be facetious, but, next year, will she hang only one overpriced, government funded painting in her living room?

Just have a thing against gov't funding for arts when poverty still exists. And wonder if she's been given grants. A tragedy of the commons, perhaps?

(and I duck from any upcoming onslaught)

That said, her artist statement sucks balls. This seems as ill-conceived as the meat dress.
posted by converge at 2:19 AM on June 20, 2006


That's basically what I do anyway. I have one pair of good black trousers, and ten or so different tops that I rotate each day when going to work. As long as I'm careful with not spilling stuff on my trousers, I can get away with one wash per week, and a different outfit every day. It's not through choice - it's not being able to afford lots of new clothes. Every now and again I'll buy a new top or dispose of one that's wearing out.

I thought this was the basis of a capsule wardrobe which is what every woman should aspire to develop? I bought a book a couple of months ago "What every woman ought to know about style" which advised that you ought to buy good quality clothes infrequently and take care of them so they last a long time, because it looks better and works out cheaper than buying lots of cheaper clothes that fall apart quickly.
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:27 AM on June 20, 2006


....a hundred dollars for one new shirt?


Where the hell has she been shopping? If this is about economics, well, I'd direct her to thrift shops and eBay. It's actually sort of fun, there's more variety, it's way cheaper, and she can thumb her nose at the malls and the department stores.
posted by pax digita at 2:27 AM on June 20, 2006


I like it!! Its reasonably serious as preformance art goes; better than my bed IMHO.

Ynoxas, our shiny silver unisex jumpsuits are long long overdue!!

But tkolar wins! Even if it only came after mazola's inferior attempt.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:25 AM on June 20, 2006


I'm with this as long as she doesn't put anything about Anderson Cooper on the front of the dress..

But, seriously folks......Interesting...I sort of like who she is, there is an honest simplicity about her....

Thanks for the link!
posted by HuronBob at 3:51 AM on June 20, 2006


Makes her look fat.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:36 AM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


ottereroticist writes "She's going about this in a principled and thoughtful way, and she's fully aware of how bizarre it is."

Except that it isn't really bizarre at all. Kind of interesting, but not radical or bizarre or strange. Calling it art is self-agrandizement.
posted by OmieWise at 5:54 AM on June 20, 2006


The project is influenced in part by the art/anti-fashion movement “Grey Sweatsuit Revolution”, in which participants attend a social event or public gathering wearing un-flattering sweatsuits as a statement against fashion trends and dictums.

I had to laugh when I read this. I hadn't heard of it before. I recently, inadvertently participated in this movement when I was visiting my parents. My parents wanted to go out to dinner, but I ran out of clean pants, and had to borrow a big baggy pair of my dad's grey sweat pants. It was a very nice restaurant. It was a relief to sit down in the booth, but marching in and out of the restaurant felt like the walk of shame. I got a lot of looks from suit-wearing patrons. It's nice to know I was making a bold cultural statement, not being a sad slob and an upstart. The fools, it went completely over their heads.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 6:30 AM on June 20, 2006


Poor people do this all the damned time.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:31 AM on June 20, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention and totally ridiculous.

Ridiculous, perhaps, but recent? Quintilian was saying "Vestis virum reddit." in the first century.
posted by jefgodesky at 6:34 AM on June 20, 2006


The idea that clothing reflects personality or is some extension of identity is a recent invention

I don't think lunalaguna's comment is entirely off-base, but it does need some qualification. In the U.S., the link between fashion and identity developed over time. For the early settlers, it was uncommon for a person to have more than one or two changes of clothes since everything a person wore was made in the home. It wasn't until the coming of the railroad and the subsequent growth of the market economy that a variety of clothing styles became accessible and affordable to most families. Even then, the pressure to express oneself (and flaunt one's economc status) via fashion would have been much more pronounced for city dwellers than for those in rural areas. I think it's fair to say that today's media-assisted fashion craze is a relatively recent phenonmenon, at least in the U.S.
posted by Crushinator at 6:39 AM on June 20, 2006


Crushinator: I've been doing some research into some of the more visible early English Colonial and U.S. religious traditions and have hit upon some really interesting stuff. In the 18th century those groups were seen as just as politically nutty as the Nation of Islam in the 20th century. Plain Speech and Plain Dress were adopted as a radical political protest against social systems where speech and dress were used as markers of the degree of rights and immunitites you held in that culture. While it is true that most people only had one or two changes of clothing, your costume was still an important indicator of class, profession and in some cases, ethnicity and religion.

lackutrol: I really don't get it when so many obviously privileged people get up in arms about the desire of others to look nice. Sheesh.

While it is pretty much given that some obviously privileged people will miss the fact that sweatshops are an extension of colonial economics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:58 AM on June 20, 2006


Poor people do this all the damned time.

It's true, very poor people wear the same stuff all the time because they have no choice, but a lot of borderline poor people nonetheless try to be fashionable by buying useless crap (clothes and other in-fashion shite) that no one will like or want after the next wave of ads and fads. They don't have health insurance, but they're in style. They've been convinced that they are what they buy, what they show, what they wear, and it all has to be the latest.

School uniforms are a good idea. Maybe there should be corporate uniforms, too -- like white-collar overalls, and everyone from cleaner to CEO should wear identical stuff: comfortable shoes, no ties, simple stuff, and all of it inexpensive because your company buys lots of it and gives each employee his or her allotment (one new outfit?) each year.
posted by pracowity at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2006


And in regards to whether there are better forms of activism protest. I've come to the conclusion that no matter what form of activity one chooses to engage in, a chorus from the peanut gallery will cry out about how this person should be doing a different form of activism.

Ehh, whatever.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:10 AM on June 20, 2006


Art Imitates Seinfeld?
posted by devbrain at 8:28 AM on June 20, 2006


If this woman had done this performance in the 60s', she'd be perceived as a genius and you'd all be sucking her cock.

what's your point here? that this work is not simply contrived, but also derivative? i guess i can agree with that.

also i'm with nightchrome on the economics - in my (perhaps somewhat limited) experience of third world countries, most folks would be happy to work hard for a wage that made them rich by local standards. hell, lots of people would be happy for any kind of wage that wasn't from hawking stuff from their garden by the roadside.

countries that open their markets to unskilled manufacturing from industrialized nations have almost-universally had drastic improvements in the standards of living. commerce enriches people. i agree that grossly wasteful consumerism is bad for the world at large, but this kind of live-off-the-land do-it-yourself posturing only benefits the ego.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 8:39 AM on June 20, 2006


This is a cool and good thing to do, even if I'm not sophisticated enough to understand why it's performance art. The more attention this kind of anti-fashion gets, the better. Thanks for the link.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:45 AM on June 20, 2006


Looking through her pictures for the year she spends more time wearing stuff over the dress than she does wearing the dress alone. It's always different stuff, too, so she's basically just doing the mix and match wardrobe thing with the brown dress as a common thread through the year. Unless someone saw her frequently, I'm not sure they'd catch on to the fact that she's wearing the same basic dress every day given the diversity of the other clothes she wears.

Of course it makes sense to cover up in cold weather. Using so many different clothes for layering just seems to nullify the point of wearing only the one dress for a year. If she owned all those other clothes before the year started, she's at least accomplished her goal of not buying new clothes. I think this would have been more meaningful if the base garment were actually a single jacket/top/pants outfit that was worn all year without the addition of other clothing.
posted by rhiannon at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


douche
posted by cellphone at 9:25 AM on June 20, 2006


[performance art, 60s] ... what's your point here?

My guess is that the point was to answer the earlier questions about "Why does she call it 'performance'?".

But that's just a guess.
posted by mendel at 9:33 AM on June 20, 2006


Where the hell has she been shopping? If this is about economics, well, I'd direct her to thrift shops and eBay. It's actually sort of fun, there's more variety, it's way cheaper, and she can thumb her nose at the malls and the department stores.

From her statement, cited upthread:

"Even my beloved second-hand shopping requires time, effort, and energy that saps my attention from the more vital parts of my life – being with my family, making artwork, tending the garden, growing my community, keeping a watchful eye on the government, reading new books, learning new skills, singing new songs . . . I intend to make good use of my energy saved!"

So, an artist is protesting another form of art?

Since when is over consumption of goods "art"? She's not protesting fashion- if she was, the dress would have been a hell of a lot uglier. She points out that she designed the dress to be appropriate under as many circumstances as possible. (Fashion) design is about balancing fuctionality and aesthetics. If you've ever tried to go on a three week vacation with nothing but a carryon bag, you can probably understand some of the considerations in designing an all-purpose garment. As far as artists protesting other forms of art, I would begin by studying impressionism, the radical art movement that began as a reaction against studio portrait and landscape painting.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:39 AM on June 20, 2006


This reminds me of Andrea Zittel's uniforms -- she would wear the same dress for six months at a time (see her works section)...
posted by armacy at 11:16 AM on June 20, 2006


So let see...she doesn't want to conform to fashion , yet in order to do that she has to NOT wear fashion ? That's reverse conformism, in which one person comforms to what others don't do in an attempt not to comform to them.

Similarly, I choose _not_ to jump from the bridge, because I don't want to do like the others who are jumping ! Yet the cause isn't that jumping from the bridge is insane, but the cause is that I don't want to comform, so by doing so I conform myself to what others are doing.
posted by elpapacito at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2006


Good god, people. Don't you have any Boner-T-shirt-having people to pick on?
posted by everichon at 1:32 PM on June 20, 2006


This is about as dumb as DotComGuy.
posted by drstein at 2:35 PM on June 20, 2006


Is there something about artists that compels them to only display thumbnails? You see this phenomenon chiefly on photography sites, as though mere viewers are undeserving of moderate-resolution pictures.

Well, this probably isn't the reason here, but photographers don't put full resolution photos on their website because they don't want them stolen. Even if they aren't selling for profit, usually they still want recognition and don't want others profiting off their work. Since there is no way to display an image and not make it copyable (oh, you can make it hard, but you can always take a screenshot at the very least), many choose to only give you a low-res view (especially if they're trying to direct you to a gallery or some other in-person viewing, or selling prints).

(Of course, some decide that letting people see a good copy of their work is worth the piracy, but photo piracy is VERY common, I know many photographers who have had their work stolen and sold).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:13 PM on June 20, 2006


oneirodynia, that's my exact point. The overconsumption of goods is, in fact, what supports art.

"The economic resources required to regularly purchase newly-manufactured clothing in retail stores are staggering – a hundred dollars for one new shirt?"
I suggest the economic resources required to support the artistic institution(s) are equally staggering. This project just seems hypocritical, silly, and slips at a cursory critical look.

But, hey, thanks for the condescension. And a bloody Wikipedia link. That's grand.

Here's one for you: Deconstruction.

Not to sound as an ass, but I am nearing the end of a month-long trip with nothing but a carry-on bag and, thus, kind of cranky.
posted by converge at 7:04 PM on June 20, 2006


Hey, she really got me thinking ... and ... she really got everyone here talking. That is art.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:52 PM on June 20, 2006


It's true, very poor people wear the same stuff all the time because they have no choice, but a lot of borderline poor people nonetheless try to be fashionable by buying useless crap (clothes and other in-fashion shite) that no one will like or want after the next wave of ads and fads. They don't have health insurance, but they're in style.

Yes, this is a major problem -- for the deluded people themselves, who waste so much money buying into the advertised 'ideal' -- as well as for the world as a whole which is slowly recognizing the environmental cost of a throw-away first-world culture. One only has to spend a day in an american thrift shop to see the scope of the problem.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:58 PM on June 20, 2006


I hate it when people do shit like this on my birthday. Not as bad as last year though.
posted by Football Bat at 10:56 PM on June 21, 2006


scarabic said it very well.
posted by raedyn at 1:34 PM on July 12, 2006


Update
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:28 PM on July 12, 2006


« Older Outsider art is exposed...  |  In middle school during the la... Newer »


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