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SLOMA's "Dirty Laundry" exhibit highlights the environmental impact of fast fashion

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Courtesy of SLO Museum of Art
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Minga Opazo is one of the artists presenting at Dirty Laundry. This piece is part of her experimentation with bio-art, which she calls a new wave of art that uses organic material and research to build technological solutions.

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) has a new exhibit that brings attention to a global issue: the environmental impact of fast fashion. The term describes the fashion industry’s massive production of cheaply-made clothing, most of which eventually ends up in landfills around the world.

The exhibition is called "Dirty Laundry," and it presents mixed-media art about the environmental impact of fast fashion from five California artists.

SLOMA's Courtney Davis, the exhibit's curator, hand-selected each artist.

“Exhibitions are a great platform to discuss topics, especially ones that are deeply impacting our Earth and our world and the people who inhabit it,” Davis said.

Davis said clothing companies are producing cheap clothing — mostly made by workers in developing countries receiving less than a living wage — to satisfy the global demand for fast-fashion.

The average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothes a year. 60 percent of clothing worldwide is produced with synthetic fibers made from chemicals derived from fossil fuels — meaning the vast majority of these clothes end up in landfills, and don’t decay.

Minga Opazo is one of the artists presenting at Dirty Laundry. Her piece at the exhibit is part of her experimentation with bio-art, which she calls a new wave of art that uses organic material and research to build technological solutions.

“The textiles usually in fast fashion are a lot of textiles with plastic mixing to each other and so this sculpture [alludes] to that. But then you you're going to see this grass and then underneath you're going to see these layers of clothing,” Opazo said.

Opazo said one of the solutions to fast fashion she’s working on and presenting at Dirty Laundry will showcase mushrooms. She said she’s trying to figure out a way to get rid of textile waste by seeing if the mushrooms will digest the textiles in her sculptures.

“I'm doing [it] a different way, and it's an installation sculpture that is basically layers of mud and textile, and then we're going to have grass growing on top of it,” Opazo said.

The Dirty Laundry exhibit is premiering tonight from 5-8pm at the SLO Museum of Art.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
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