From the heat of the California summer sun to the rain that clouds its skies, there is an almost palpable resilience in the pieces everyday workers wear– an arbitrary power in the fabrics of their clothes that attest to their zeal for survival. Creative brand Clarke & Reilly appreciate this relationship between individual workers and the attire that clothes them, its collaborative creators David Grocott and Bridget Dwyer believing there is more to the weathered indigo that stains their clothing than the naked eye can see. Having partnered in 2005 with the singular goal of defying categorization by curating spaces imbued with creative freedom, the design duo’s latest installation, Blue Collar, pays homage to the resilient marks that wear down these fabrics– honoring the journey the American working-class endure within the confines of labor.
Clarke & Reilly’s newest installation comes as a solo exhibition within the heart of Los Angeles, showcasing a series of fabric panels decorating the walls of SIZED STUDIO, West Hollywood. The exhibition features an array of over 60 handcrafted t-shirts, weathered and worn down to symbolize the journey of working-class citizens. Grocott and Dwyer are using this elusive textile performance to honor the permanence of these indigo-dyed garments, assembling swaths of clothes tinged in the iconic dye as a tribute to its timelessness in society. From the way the dye adorned the ancient Egyptians to its presence in the unseen immigrant workers of today, Clarke & Reilly are using this creative space and medium to illuminate the subliminal string that connects consumers with their obscured manufacturers.
Much of the installation amasses an understanding unlike any other, one where the Garment District in Downtown Los Angeles is the heart and soul of the spectacle. The eroded clothing presented in the studio will have spanned three centuries, its fibers having been accumulated over the years and sourced from all over the world. The installation is more than just an exhibition of clothing, rather being an on-display lifecycle of the cloth and its wearer. Clarke & Reilly’s Blue Collar will be open to the public from October 26th through November 4th.