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FASHION FINALIST 2016/MIEKE VERMEULEN

Concrete is applied in a way unusual to its regular, smooth exterior and supportive purpose, by being broken and reconstructed.

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BARE concrete is so deeply integrated into our living spaces that we almost never give thought to its origin or process. Not unlike the clothes we wear daily. Very few people are aware that, throughout the entire process - from harvesting fibre for textiles, to the manufacturing of garments - the environment is laid waste, and the human rights of garment industry workers in the East are violated.

The events of 24 April 2013 at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, are testimony to the plight of these workers. Over 1 100 workers were crushed under a collapsed, faulty building. Fast fashion has created an almost unbreakable cycle of rapid consumption and material waster creation. We are happy to purchase clothing at ridiculously fast rates, as long as we are not witness to the effects thereof.

People suffer under unsafe working conditions and are paid wages that barely cover basic living expenses, in order for us to look nice at a “fair” price. The BARE collection seeks to expose the process: to bare the aggregate.

Concrete is applied in a way unusual to its regular, smooth exterior and supportive purpose, by being broken and reconstructed. The concrete shards suggest building rubble after the collapse.

Pincushion concrete shoulder pads carry the plight of overburdened factory workers. Hands grasp for help from the menacing slivers. The gold leaf gives a royal and over-indulgent feel. Fabric texture and colour as well as style lines mimic the human form and concrete surfaces.

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