“Textile Manufacturing by Post-Industrial Method”
The billion-dollar global fashion industry is one of the most important sectors of our global economy. The reality of this industry is that many individual producers in developing countries work long hours under forced conditions for pennies on the dollar – far less than a living wage. The project “Fabric” is relevant to the importance of the textile and apparel industry in a globalized economy concerning cheap labor in mainland Southeast Asia countries. Piyarat Piyaongwiwat initiated and executed this project in Southeast Asia countries, which became the top outsourcing destinations for the past few decades because of their low labor costs. Over five months, she spent her days conducting artistic research over several countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, where she carefully observed garment workers in Industrial Zones and Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Additionally, apart from Southeast Asian countries, she also spent a short time in Japan for research about the history of the workers’ struggles in mills during Meiji Era in order to pass on the ongoing story that is different in time and place. Besides her research and photo documentations, she created collaborative artworks with local workers at each site in Southeast Asia; consisting of patchworks and a video documentary.