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We can ask ourselves who pays for our well-being? How can it be that our clothing is sold by slashing prices in discount chains? To answer these questions we should listen to Igor Dobrowoslky a Polish artist who denounces exploitation in fashion industry.

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His works are exposed in Warsaw and they show how behind luxury of the consumerist Western society there are factories that force children to work for hours. Being paid just few cents, these children work to make our much-loved jeans and sweaters. Paycheck of slavery. These shaking images, indeed, aim at foster the latest discussion concerning the re-shaping of fashion industry in environmentally sustainable terms.

You only have to read Igor’s photo captions (about H&M and Zara) to understand the tragedy behind our hypocrite smiles, when we are excited to wear a new (unnecessary) piece of clothing.

“Fast Fashion. Bangladesh 1,134 people Dead after a clothing factory building collapse. 3 of the 4 biggest tragedies in fashion history took place in Bangladesh in 2013. The number of fatal victims raises, profits of the companies also.

H&M is the largest company that manufactures in Bangladesh. Companies are pressing the factory to lower product prices Factory owner can do nothing but agree and work faster and cheaper, if not, the retailer will only go to the next factory. The only way out is to cut costs, by reducing wages for employees, lowering the working conditions and safety, produce with no respect for the environment”.

In this way Igor is to be considered the heir of Livia Giuggioli Firth’s fights. Wife of Colin Firth, she has been denouncing these unsafe conditions for a very long time. Indeed, in 2015 she was the executive producer of the documentary “The true cost”, directed by Andrew Morgan. This documentary is focused on the so called fast fashion, a field of fashion which reproduces pieces of clothing intended for sale in high speed. 

When Livia Guggioli was in Bangladesh she visited a standard fabric: one entrance, armed guards, no emergency exit, bars on the windows, workers forced to produce from 100 to 150 pieces of clothing in an hour, one break only to go to the toilet. All this to earn 46 dollars in a month.

Igor quotes Livia Giuggioli in his works: «We are actually profiting from their need to work, to use them as slaves, and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give them the work, but they have to be treated with the same respect as our children or friends. They’re not different from us».

We asked Igor some questions to better understand his perspective. Can you tell me what do you want to say with your work?

«I want to show the true face of greed, or rather the greed of the people who run these corporations and what does this greed lead to. I do not intend to moralize because I also was buying clothes in these companies before. Just now I know better».

What does art means for you?

«For me personally it is a better way to communicate thoughts or feelings than a spoken language. I don’t really think about it».

You say that you don’t want to moralize but you want to raise people awareness about this exploitation, is it right?

«I do not want to moralize or say what someone should do, because I also was buying clothes in these companies, just now I know what the truth is and I try to make conscious decisions. I’m not going to tell people what to do, I am nobody to lecture other people. I try to show the truth and it depends on the individual what he wants to do with it. At least they will not make decisions without being aware of what the truth (harm) looks like».

What are your works truly about?

«My work touches on many social problems. Many of my works are based on real stories, the factor that binds my work is the suffering, the particle of hope, and the reminder that life can be terribly cruel and therefore to show that our problems are not great in comparison to the aforementioned tragedy».

You can follow Igor on Facebook (igor.dobrowolski.5) or Instagram (@igordobrowolski)

(These are Igor pictures taken in Warsaw streets, they denounce the exploitation of fashion industry and other his art street works in Berlin).

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