The journeys of our discarded clothes

'The Bargehouse' is an incredible building close to Blackfriars Bridge on the South side of the River Thames.  A four story warehouse building, it is now a gallery and event space. 

With it's crumbling and atmospheric interior, it was a perfect space for an excellent exhibition at the weekend (20 -22 January 2012) 'Everything Must Go', which followed the journey of worn clothing as it is sold for reuse and recycling across the world.

The exhibition marked the culmination of a research project by five universities: the Waste of the World

Sadly, this elaborate display was only on for the weekend.  I would like to have returned for a second visit and to recommend it to people. 

As a textile designer, I like to think I know something about the fibre content of our clothes. As the high street brands continue to mix fibres, what struck me most is how complicated the recycling of them becomes. What happens next to the remade downgraded textile?
Of course, the horrendous conditions most people in this trade work in was shocking.

Two excellent short films were very powerful:
'Unravel' made by Meghna Gupta was a documentary in a textile recycling factory in Northern India talking to the women who work there.

In a room which highlighted the shipping involved in the moving of all our discarded goods, a 5 minute film sped up the dismantling of a huge ship filmed over a two year period - incredible.

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