The garment collection signifies the black veiled garments that are worn by widows by various cultural groups. The work comprises of two black cocktail dresses that also signify celebration. One dress is created from sequins, lace and chiffon, and is accessorised with a black embroidered vintage veil (found object). The other dress is a reused vintage satin dress (found and modified object) that is accessorised with a hooded lace jacket. The garments address the failure of social systems to protect vulnerable members in our societies. In Australia for example, many elderly people are abused by their carers or close family members as the social system offers attractive incentives to full time carers, yet on occasion the elderly are abused, be it socially, physically, financially and sexually, but it is often hidden and goes unnoticed.
I seek to create awareness of this form of abuse by juxtaposing symbolisms of mourning against those of celebration. The final stage of life should be joyful and free of responsibility if the elderly would receive the care that the system intends, which is not the case in situations of abuse.
The sustainable fashion is showcased during the moths of December 2019 and January 2020 in the Poetic Peripheries exhibition at the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery. The exhibition seeks to claim back spaces and safe places for women through symbolic representations that explore relationships with physical and social environments and identity processes.
By Melanie Sarantou (2019)