'These Clothes Mean Something'

April 19th, 2018. Analogue Gallery, Brisbane. 

Our relationship to clothing is intimate: something intuitive and deeply established within cultures all over the world. However, our understanding of how we form meaningful relationships with what we wear can be vague and ambiguous. These relationships often remain oblivious to us until they’re threatened - by a hole, a stain, an impending garage sale, or a breakup. Further, cloth itself is imbued with layers of symbolic qualities: from the labour intensive processes of its production, to its sensory appeal, to its aesthetic relevance. While clothing enables us to express and communicate elements of our identity through adornment, it also offers a psychological outlet, a place for our emotions and sentimental anecdotes to safely unwind, and suffuse.

In the face of throw-away fashion culture and cyclical, trend-driven clothing production, These Clothes Mean Something (TCMS) is a group exhibition that focuses on the notion of the self-made. TCMS brings together the work of seven Brisbane artists and fashion designers: Levi Cranston, Thomas King, Emily McGuire, Aidan Renata, Tom Summers, Emma Tothill and Isabel Wengert. Collectively, the pieces exhibited explore how sentimental and emotional value can become attached to cloth and handmade garments, questioning our connection to fast-fashion and throw-away culture, and our position towards the ever-evolving fashion industry.

Each maker exhibited in TCMS has placed equal importance on dexterity and emotional value in their work by using specific labour intensive techniques, while simultaneously, using the stuffs of fashion to critique it. Each work acts as a point of inquiry into ideas of cultural heritage, lineage, personal experience and slow fashion practice. Through bringing these themes together, in the niche geographical setting of Brisbane, TCMS offers a poignant rebuttal against the general societal misconception that fashion is merely superficial. Further, it urges viewers to evaluate their own relationship to the contents of their wardrobes.