Fast Fashion opened on the San Jose State University campus this week and included the art of Notre Dame students Mikaela Brennan '20 and Marley Gerhart '21. Curated by interdisciplinary artist, SJSU professor and MOSAIC Cross Cultural Faculty Fellow, Dr. Jonathan Fung, Fast Fashion invites viewers to contemplate their carbon footprint and the environmental impact of their clothing purchases.
According to Dr. Fung, “Fast fashion” is a contemporary term that refers to inexpensive trendy clothing produced at lightning speed by mass-market retailers. Due to its poor quality, this clothing is frequently thrown away and is one of the largest contributors to environmental damage. These garments are typically full of lead, pesticides, and countless other chemicals, which rarely break down and spend their life releasing these toxic chemicals into the air, and into the humans who produce them as well as those who wear them.
For the exhibition Marley created a very poetic “slow fashion” triptych, and Mikaela developed an educational fast fashion website."It’s rare to include high school students in a professional art exhibition on a university campus," shared Dr. Fung. "But I am a huge supporter of the ND community and wanted the students to have an opportunity to grow with new experiences outside the walls of Notre Dame."
Passionate about the injustices of human trafficking, Marley learned about the art exhibit directly from Jonathan and wanted to be involved. Mikaela was referred by Notre Dame teacher, Deidre Savino because of her passion and knowledge of fast fashion which included creating a website regarding the topic for her peace and social justice class last year. Both students began helping to collect discarded clothing from Notre Dame students before becoming participants in the project. The pile of clothing and clothing on hangers is being distributed to San Jose State University students on November 21. There are an estimated 4,000 homeless students currently attending the university.
Thank you to Gabe Morales and Susan Brennan for the photos.