Totes Serious…who made my bag?
by Nicole Robins
26 September – 13 October 2019
Opening celebrations Thursday 26th September
Totes Serious…who made my bag? is a series of basket bags by Sydney basketmaker Nicole Robins.
These pieces are art designed for the wall. Several of the totes feature just one, beautiful, locally sourced or homegrown fibre. Although not functional in a fashion sense, their shape references the current trend for using woven totes and bags in the fashion world.
In recent years woven bags have become real ‘it bags’ and we can see a greenwashing aspect to their use in fashion advertising. They have come to signify ethical, handmade, and of course ‘natural’ by their very appearance. At the same time, makers are invisible. These bags are often made in less affluent countries where makers are poorly paid. The clothes accompanying the bags have a brand, a designer and status. The bags themselves are often treated as mere window dressing – yet they are made by extremely skilled artisans.
In the same way as the ethical fashion world is starting to ask – who made my clothes? – this exhibition asks – who made my bag? Both questions arise from the Fashion Revolution movement, represented by organisations in over 100 countries around the world. In the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, Fashion Revolution has campaigned for systemic reform of the fashion industry with a focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.
Consumers have more power than they think when it comes to helping artisans and craftspeople to earn a reasonable living from their work.
A workshop, Totes Playful is being offered during Sydney Craft Week to accompany the Totes Serious exhibition. Bring an old Tote or basket bag you would like to upcycle or decorate and learn some new basketry skills at the same time. Basketmaker Nicole Robins will teach some basketry and braiding techniques which can be used to replace old handles or add a colourful new dimension to bags and jewellery.
Sat October 12th, 10am – 1pm, $ 60, Limited to 8 participants
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