fabric of society

The Fabric of Society series explores the history, societal, and personal connection to denim jeans.  During the 18th century, denim jeans were initially created as a necessity for laborers who needed strong, durable, and long-lasting clothing.  Throughout this intense work, the denim gradually wore down, and would be mended and patched to continue their use. Due to the time period and their social class, these workers lacked the finances and resources to buy a new pair every time their jeans were damaged or ripped.  Through the years, as these jobs became less common, denim jeans integrated into society, and everyday life. Today, 21st century society has unpurposefully conditioned us to replace things that are broken or damaged, instead of taking the time and effort to make the repair. Everything is at our fingertips, rather than fix our jeans when they tear, now we make a stop at the store.  As a result of this convenience we throw away and replace so much more in our life than just our jeans.

    Texture is an important element I am drawn to and incorporate into my work.  The appreciation I have for texture led to working with fabric, of which, I found immense attachment to denim, and by working so closely with it, I have formed an emotional bond.  In the pieces I cut and stitch together, I see myself. Individually, each piece in the series is a “me”. It is a difficult time in my life where I was torn, ripped, and pulled apart from the seams internally, and I found the strength to sew and patch myself back together and continue, rather than giving up, throwing myself away, and searching for something to replace the damaged me.  The meticulous process of creating these pieces physically reflects what I did internally in those instances of my life.

The series represents the deeply rooted correlation of denim jeans and humans through changes of society.  Even though we were designed with durability and strength, we still may rip with the tough work associated with life.  This is when it is necessary to sew yourself up and keep going. As the history of denim has progressed, jeans have devolved from their initial purpose, and so has society.  With giving up and accepting defeat becoming the easier and more frequent option, it can be incredibly difficult to find motivation and inner strength. Through this series, I am portraying the durability we all possess as humans using the history and physical material of denim jeans.  How it is imperative we recognize and shield from the “break and replace” conditioned society we live in, and instead use the inner strength we all are capable of to repair our rips and tears and piece ourselves back together.

Using red thread in the seams of the denim patches in my work represents me finding that strength and ability to “lead myself out of the maze”, to work through the hardship, the red thread is what held me together.