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15% Waste Not Want Not


After delighting in the lavish window displays at Bergdorf, Saks, and Lord and Taylor, continue your stroll further down Fifth Avenue to a different display of fashion artistry shone from behind translucent panes. You will not encounter an opulent showcase of holiday fashion splendor when you arrive at 66 Fifth Avenue. However, expect to be regaled with a couture message that is a fitting counterpart to your department store window visual feast.


The exhibit 15% by Salla Salin, Timo Rissanen, and Janelle Abbot in progress at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Gallery, aims to make transparent excess in the fashion industry. Dr. Rissanen, also a professor dedicated to “zero-waste fashion design”, shared that the exhibit is designed to “make waste visible and make labor visible.” The website for the installation further describes that “…the lifecycle of a white T-shirt is actually a complex question, both in human and ecological terms.”  “There is no such thing as a cheap T-shirt,” the site states.


For 4 weeks, the artist Janelle Abbot performs from behind the clear glass the process of creating a simple white T-shirt. Her performance (observable both through the window and, for a closer vantage, inside) is carried out in a mesmerizingly solemn and automatic fashion. She unrolls a white sheet of fabric on padded table, places pattern, chalks pattern shape, removes pattern, cuts pattern shape, removes cut pieces, assembles excess fabric on sheet of black tissue paper, folds tissue over wasted fabric two times, places waste aside, and begins again. Eventually, she will have created a ‘basic’ white T-shirt.

15% by Salla Salin and Timo Rissanen from Timo Rissanen on Vimeo.

This thought-provoking exhibit is part of ‘Fashion Interactions‘ at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries (part of Parsons The New School for Design) at 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street. The installation will conclude on December 11, 2013.

Visit the installation website at:

About the author: Bill Indursky
Bill Indursky is an architect, trend expert, and digital entrepreneur. He is the former founder of V&M (Vintage & Modern (2006-2013)) and the current founder of Design Life Network (DLN). DLN is a MAGAZINE + DESIGN AGENCY + MARKETPLACE + TV CHANNEL promoting inspiring design of all eras online and on TV.

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