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Erin Smego

Fast Parallels 

January 2019

Smego marries industrial materials (lumber, screws, staples) and Fast Fashion products—cheap, mass-produced clothing—to create angular sculptures that examine the economic and gender implications of fashion through a visual vocabulary reminiscent of modernist sculpture.  For her contribution to Stumble Chicago, Smego adorns child-scaled sculptures with winter wear thrifted from consignment stores which she scatters along the snow-covered 606, an elevated running trail on Chicago’s NW side. Fascinated by how bulky, unflattering winter attire acts as a unifying aesthetic by rendering all bodies “marshmallow shaped,” Smego’s mannequin-like sculptures consider the false promises of Fast Fashion by tracing the life cycle of its products. Retailers like H&M and Zara claim to offer of-the-moment high fashion looks at affordable price points yet the cost of the insatiable desire for novelty is disposable products and dependency on unethical, sweat shop labor. These sculptures remind us of the economies and networks surrounding clothing while considering if the Fast Fashion model of production shares uncomfortable parallels in how we make and consume art.

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