Self-describing her work as “[a]esthetics that reference the impact of fashion”, Ryerson graduate and Winnipeg native Bronwyn Seier is using fashion to raise awareness about issues related to the trade. Her most recent collection, “Made Not Born,” encompasses many of the values that Seier herself espouses, both through its visual imagery as well as the manner in which the collection was produced.
In many ways, Seier is trying to fight the influence of fast fashion, to bring a high quality craftsmanship to her pieces that fast fashion so frequently lacks. As a result, many of the garments in “Made Not Born” have been hand embroidered, and in the interest of promoting sustainable fashion, the garments also incorporate deadstock material, or excess fabric that has been rejected or tossed aside by fabric factories. In creating the collection, Seier also made use of fair trade farming, and uses her garments to vocalize concerns about other subjects such as offshore production and dye runoff. Seier truly wants the collection, and her garments as a whole, to function not only as clothing that is practical to wear, but as pieces of art.
Looking at “Made Not Born”, various aspects of the garments stand out and distinguish Seier’s collection from others’. Many of the pieces feature 3D or collage-like aspects, such as baubles on the socks, and clothing tags (presumably cut from other garments) arranged decoratively on the front of the garment. The garment itself has been embroidered with the geographic outlines of the continents; other embroidery in the collection captures words or phrases, some pertaining to the creation of clothing, such as “edgestitch binding” and “trim threads”. Other words included on the garments are less formal, but still pertain to fashion, asking the viewer questions like “where’d u get that?”
Not only does Seier want her clothing to communicate her stances on certain issues, she wants her audience to realize what an important role clothing plays in our day to day lives. Sure, at times the world of fashion can seem out of touch and extraneous to an average, everyday citizen, but at the same time, clothing functions as a crucial part of survival- it is woven into our lives.
While garments in “Made Not Born” do echo recent and recognizable trends like bodysuits and cold shoulder dresses, with the addition of Seier’s words and phrases, embroidery, and repurposed material, the clothing becomes distinct. It reminds the viewer of how uniform and meaningless fast fashion can be, not by trying too pointedly to rebel against trends, but by appropriating those trends with a unique twist. More importantly, with its emphasis on using sustainable materials, as well as environmental and commercial imagery and phrases, “Made Not Born” never allows the viewer to forget how much damage we do when we treat fashion as anything other than it is- art.