Book Sprint on Fashion and Labor, or WorkWear

Book-Sprint-On-Demand! Between May 23rd and 27th, the Fashion Praxis Lab hosts a book sprint on the topic of Fashion and Labor at Parsons School of Design. As its point of departure, we will reexamine parts of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, especially the distinction between labor, work and action/praxis, to see how these categories may help us see the labor of fashion from new angles: from the perils of sweatshop labor, design labor, glamor labor, and internment labor to the mythical deeds of excellence that are the aesthetic actions of true courage.


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Draw The Line

On March 2nd, 2016, the United States Supreme Court heard the most important reproductive rights case in almost 25 years. The decision, likely to come down in June 2016, will determine whether Texas can shut down nearly all abortion care providers in the state and prevent 5.4 million women of reproductive age from accessing the healthcare they need. Using craft as activism, artist Chi Nguyen — in partnership with the Textile Arts Center and the Center for Reproductive Rights — is holding a series of stitch-ins to make physical the number of women whose right to safe and legal abortion is currently at risk. With each line representing an individual woman, the 5.4 Million and Counting project is only finished when all 5.4 million lines are embroidered.

The public is invited to Draw the Line by joining or hosting a stitch-ins, or by sending in their own 10×10” swatches with as many tally marks (卌) as they would like to embroider. All swatches will be patched onto a larger quilt to demonstrate the public’s support for safe and legal abortion.

The Fashion Praxis Lab will host a stitching session on Tuesday May 11th, 6:30-8:30pm at Room U503 (63 5th Ave, Manhattan- NY). Materials will be provided.

If you cannot join the stitch-in session but would like to participate, please follow the directions below:

  • You can use a 10×10 inch swatch in any material and color. A contrasting thread color is important to ensure that your tallies are visible.
  • Once finished, indicate the number of lines you have embroidered on a notecard. Please write your name on the same card if you would like to be acknowledged by the project.
  • Send all materials to:
Kelly Valletta, 5.4 Million and Counting Project Textile Arts Center
505 Carroll St.
Brooklyn, NY 11215



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Politics of Pockets with Kat Jungnickel


The Politics of Pockets: an exploration into material inventions
(and interventions)

This talk and workshop delves into a history of pockets. Drawing on archives, patents, utopian feminist literature and science and technology studies I explore pockets as socio-political mobility technologies that shape, and are shaped by, moving bodies, gender relations and the politics of place. I aim to suggest that these material inventions (and interventions) can be examined as a critical means through which different bodies are made to fit, both physically and ideologically, with ideas about being in and moving through public space. We will make some pockets, re-imagining how they fit our bodies, clothes and contexts. In doing so, we will start to question the nature of these holding devices – asking what kinds of work they do, who they enable or inhibit and what they can tell us about mobility and power.

Kat Jungnickel is a researcher and lecturer in the Sociology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research explores mobilities, digital technology cultures, DiY making communities and inventive methods.

Come and explore the politics of pockets and add new capacities to your work wear!

Tuesday, April 5th, 6-8pm
Room L702 (2w13th street)

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Work Wear and Fashion Labor


Elizabeth Wissinger and Laura Y. Liu at work

Elizabeth Wissinger and Laura Y. Liu at work

The mini symposium on Fashion and Labor was an informal event where many different perspectives on labor and dress were presented. The subject offers many points of departure as well as intersecting lines of design, work, labor, praxis and politics. A possible book-sprint starts to materialize.

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WorkWear mini symposium


In conjunction with the Workwear/Abiti da Lavoro exhibition at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, the Fashion Praxis Lab hosts a mini symposium on the topic of Fashion and Labor. With contributors from across the New School and beyond, we will have a series of very short presentations and an informal discussion on various approaches to labor within the realm of fashion, spanning from localized artisan work, work garments, labor practices, glamour labor, praxis, allure and globalization.

Please feel free to visit the exhibit at the Kellen Gallery before the symposium.

Wednesday March 16th 6-8pm
at New School University Center room U412


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Fashion Praxis at Sweat Equity


On Sunday March 6th, 2016, the New York Historical Society hosted the inaugural conference in honor of Jean Dubinsky Appleton, titled Sweat Equity: Women in the Garment Industry. The conference concluded with a panel from Parsons, moderated by Fashion Praxis member, Timo Rissanen. BFA Fashion Design senior Nora Maloney spoke of her thesis project, a collection of zero waste garments, developed with the support of her thesis instructors Lester Rodriguez and Jennifer Belton, and a fashion magazine focusing on sustainability. The magazine features interviews with Livia Firth and Andrew Morgan and work by fellow Parsons students. BFA Fashion Design junior Casey Barber discussed how participating in the Parsons Design Lab course, Design for Care, in fall 2015 is now informing her studies in her core courses, with a rich view of sustainability in fashion design. The panel finished by presenting the flag currently being made by Fashion Praxis – a flag we hope never to fly.

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Flag under construction


Yesterday we started the process of making the flag. It is saying “A Garment Worker Was Killed Yesterday” and will be flown from Parsons to highlight the structural violence inherent within the current system of fashion production. The flag will now be moving between classes as students and faculty will help attach the letters while engaging with the topic.

Many hands are needed to change things. Awareness is not enough. Action needs to be cultivated. A letter at the time.

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