Von Wong’s Art Installation ” A Truckload of Fashion Greenwashing” exposes fashion greenwashing and urges mindful consumption.
Did you know that every second, a staggering truckload of clothing is either discarded in landfills or incinerated? In recent years, the ascent of fast fashion giants like H&M and Zara has been overshadowed by the rise of ultra-fast fashion players like Shein, who flood their websites with a dizzying array of designs – anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 new items – each and every day.
RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS
“A Truckload of Fashion Greenwashing” Art Installation
Renowned artist Von Wong joined forces with the Kunstverein in Ludwigsburg, Germany, to transform the narrative. Their collaborative effort led to the creation of an impactful project that brought together an entire truckload of clothes. Karlshöher Gebrauchtwarenladen, a Ludwigsburg-based social enterprise providing opportunities for the underprivileged, accumulates a similar amount of clothing within a mere three days. Employing recycled wood and nylon fishnets as support, Von Wong’s installation involved the contribution of apprentice carpenter Leonie, who dedicated almost ten days to the project. Each clothing tower was meticulously adorned with varied shades and colors, resulting in an artistic masterpiece.
The meticulous sorting process followed days of examining the diverse array of collected garments, categorized first by color and then by shade. The installation was assembled without compromising the condition of the clothes, ensuring they can be returned to use after the project’s completion. This endeavor proved to be an engaging exploration, akin to a thrifting adventure, yielding unexpected discoveries at every turn.
Even organic clothing leaves a substantial ecological footprint, with a single organic cotton t-shirt consuming a staggering 2500L of water. In the pursuit of sustainability, reusing emerges as the most pragmatic and enjoyable choice. The involvement of local students was instrumental in managing the vast volume of clothing, as dozens of teenagers from different schools assisted in sorting, organizing, and placing garments on the installation. Through this, they gained invaluable insights into the fashion industry’s environmental impact.
Amidst this, the plight of over 170 million children employed in the textile industry mirrored the students’ predicament, emphasizing that fashion’s crisis extends beyond environmental concerns to encompass humanitarian issues. The art gallery setting, with dimmed lights, barred windows, and an eerie ambiance, ingeniously mirrored a sweatshop environment, adding depth to the installation’s message. Demonstrating that used items can hold unparalleled allure, the project employed borrowed tools and equipment, including a lighting kit worth $20,000 from Broncolor.
Von Wong’s approach underlines that renting or borrowing can often prove superior to ownership in terms of cost-efficiency, environmental friendliness, and community collaboration. Addressing the greenwashing dilemma, many companies strive to create less harmful products, yet the industry already possesses a surplus of clothing, potentially lasting a century.
Sustainability transcends mere consumption reduction; it prompts a recalibration of our sense of sufficiency within the broader societal context. Through this powerful installation, Von Wong prompts reflection on fashion, its consequences, and our role in shaping a responsible and balanced future.
The copyright and all rights in all photos are owned by Benjamin Von Wong.