Clothes, for me, have always been rooted in the underlining thoughts of costume, armour and similar ideas to dada, letterists and situationists. They have always been a protection of identity that have safe guarded my ‘otherness’. Clothes have acted, at times, as a tribe finder but when there’s been no tribe they have strengthened me, and I love them for all of this.
My main present when I was eleven years old was a secondhand sewing machine. I cut up and changed my clothes, drew on them, sewed bits of cartoonish stuff on and generally had a lot of fun, but my sewing was awful. At around 13 I started buying vintage pieces which were my version of treasure, not to be butchered. Clothes and the creativity that just getting dressed brings has always, always been my happy place, but until starting this project, I didn’t think much beyond that.
At the start of 2020 the global worth of the clothing industry was said to be £2tn ($1.5tn) but along the life line of a piece of clothing there is more often than not a story of human rights violations and extreme poverty, right through to substantial wealth and privilege, all with ties to the same item of clothing.
The model of ‘I’ll put the clothing on your back, you take the food off my table’, which has been the norm throughout the history of cotton, is wrong, but it’s still going on today. I suspect that these human rights violations have been able to continue for so long because of a lack of visibility and ignorance on the one hand, coupled with the theatre of fashion on the other.
The Head of A Pin is a project using different mediums, including a clothing label, to explore a range of issues around the subject of cotton and related areas.