Five wearable objects from the 19th and 20th centuries from the collection of the National Museum for Worldcultures, all made of different local materials from different continents, led Lena Winterink to think about the materials we wear today. Where do they come from? Who made them? And what is the significance of their place of origin nowadays?
The labels on our clothing do not provide any information about the origins of the materials used. Furthermore, the labels need to be cut out of the garments for a stable material-quality during the recycling process.
‘Made In’ is a coat made entirely of the clothing labels from locally discarded garments. With this project Lena Winterink highlights the disappearance of locality from global production systems and creates a link with a new definition of locality.
'Made In' started from the question of the National Museum of World Cultures to make a design in response to artefacts of the collection of the museum for the exhibition ‘Plastic Crush’ (from 4 November 20222 till 7 May 2023). Lena Winterink selected five objects on intuition. By no surprise, they all were related to different techniques and materials used to make wearable items.
She started by mapping the objects, researching the materials they were made of and the different cultures they (had) belonged to. This resulted in differences, like the materials and places of origin and time they were made, but also similarities, they are all wearable and the used materials were locally sourced.
This led Winterink to her first question: what materials are local in The Netherlands? A question that went back in time and mainly led to natural materials that are now often forgotten.
One object stood out from the others: a head from Kenia made of littered plastic. This changed the possible answers to the previous question, as found and discarded materials once made somewhere else, now also could be considered as local.
This led into a new direction. What materials we do we wear nowadays and where do those materials come from? Winterink started looking at the labels in her own clothes and researched the legislation on what information these labels should contain. Where she found no transparency about the origin and materials, she discovered that when recycling textiles, all labels should be removed to keep a consistent material quality in the recycling process.
From this point of view the labels became a leftover in the recycling of textile, and here Winterink saw the opportunity for a new local material. She collected the labels from a recycling company in The Netherlands and designed a technique to attach the labels to one-another to create a new textile on which all different materials and origins were still displayed.
The coat that she designed and developed, consists of over 1.300 labels from locally discarded garments and links the global mass production to a new definition of locality.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Labels from discarded garments
National Museum of World Cultures