Erin Robertson, Suma Hussien
My final thesis at MassArt was called Plashion, and it was about the Pacific Trash Vortex. I was devastated when I learned about the Pacific Trash Vortex and what it meant for the environment. I used plastic trash that already had pattern and color and meaning embedded in it, things like New York Times bags, and then I laser cut them, and manipulated them and embroidered and embellished them. Message, material, manipulation, message, material, manipulation. I also think a lot about how I present my work, and how that can deepen the message. I didn’t present the Plashion collection on a runway--I put it on the street, and I gave the models “Selfless Sticks” to use for picking up trash. It was a play on “selfie sticks”--a way of asking people to turn outside the problems of their immediate personal universe to look beyond at the problems facing our society and our world. The people passing by on the street met the models, talked with them about the project, about facts about trash and the environment and the health of the oceans. Instead of presenting work to a fashion audience for critique on construction and craft, I presented it to the public. I’m not interested in presenting to the fashion world, in doing collections at Fashion Week and starting an atelier. I want to start a conversation.