“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” – Andre Gide
Years after the devastating collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, due to hazardous conditions, the corporations fled as they owed no “duty of care” to its workers. The pandemic further added to the mistreatment by causing many cancellations in orders, which led corporations to cut the pay to their workers and eventually accelerated to unemployment.
‘song of the shirt’ is an installation that prompts discourse about the ongoing complications with the garment manufacturing industry. Upcycling creates the framework for the installation. We reworked garments by stitching printed patches quoting the book ‘The Song of the Shirt’ by Jeremy Seabrook onto second-hand clothing. Upcycled garments become a new manifestation carrying stories of factory workers. The ephemeral patchworks dismantle with wear and wash, burying the suppressed stories. The cycle transforms the garments with a metaphorical experience mirroring that of its creators. The remnants of ghost stitching by the garment workers reflect the harsh reality.
This project proposes a new perspective upon the traditionally functional. Discomfort is not the intent, but rather contemplating the dialogues between the products and the consumers, and the consumers with the workers. To understand the underlying problems, we need to be able to see one’s life with a new mindset; we need to understand how society works and how one’s decision could change the outcome. The intention is to generate a change in attitude and consumer behaviour by highlighting the crumbling facade of the garment industry.