Anni Salonen’s MA thesis collection is inspired by and made of worn and discarded clothes. Worn garments were collected from dumpsters, recycling centers, flea markets and other people’s wardrobes. With her work, Salonen seeks to answer the question of what it would look like if we could not get rid of any material possessions, but instead had to find ways to repurpose everything. Finding new meanings in old clothes is at the heart of her work.
Salonen aims to treat the materials as collaborators to work with rather than passive objects. Signs of wear, fading of colors and details of the original salvaged garments function as inspiration rather than something that should be erased.
– The materials I use in my work don’t necessarily agree with the ideas I have in my head, so I find it more interesting to start from the material and experiment with it to see where it takes me, rather than being disappointed when it doesn’t behave how I want it to, Salonen explains.
The emphasis is on materials that exist in such large quantities that they have lost their value, such as jeans, leather jackets and nylon tights. For the sake of using the most unwanted things, a price limit of seven euros per piece was decided. The majority of the garments were found for free.
Besides the more anonymous, mass-produced clothes, vintage sweaters handmade by family members were salvaged from gathering dust in a storage. All the items have been treated with care to prove a point: these materials are not trash, and even in a state of wornness they can be desirable and luxurious.
– I don’t consider this a sustainable fashion collection, because in a sustainable system based on a closed loop it wouldn’t be possible to work like this. I think it shouldn’t be possible to make these kinds of clothes from other people’s trash, because in an ideal world these garments wouldn’t be discarded so carelessly.