Experience the true cost of fashion in Wowzzzeee, a participatory sweatshop complete with all the tools needed to make a glittering and spectacular onesie – it’s a space to unite through the transformative power of fashion to democratise and fabulise. Presented as part of FOLA 2018, and created by Adele Varcoe, Wowzzzeee is a new fashion phenomenon where over 500 must-have wowzzzeee’s (onesies with the wow factor) will be created and released into the world.
Adele, the power of fashion is an immense one, but does this performance also perhaps focus on the darker side of the fashion industry in any way?
I think there are many dark and light facets to fashion that appear through processes of making but also through wearing. For me, this project is about relationships and the different kinds of relationships that can come about through making and wearing a garment. I’m interested in what drives the audiences desire to make a Wowzzzeee (onesie with the WOW factor) for themselves or the kind of value they place on paying someone to make it for them.
Explain to us your love for the onesie, what does this item of clothing personify for you – comfort, practicality?
The way I started wearing a onesie was quite spontaneous- I was cleaning out old work from my Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) at RMIT: I came across a hot pink skin-tight onesie I made in 2nd year swimwear. I was teaching that day and I thought l: “What would it be like to wear this?” I thought the students would find it pretty funny but I wasn’t prepared for how the public would react. Countless people approached me on the street and asked: “Where are you going? What’s this about? Why are you wearing this?”
The onesie became an invitation to engage and talk about fashion, dress and clothes. Wearing a onesie (everyday of my life) is a constant reminder of how clothing does affect the way we relate and engage with each other and the expectations that come with who we are in the clothes we wear.
How are the audiences involved with this work, and what does it give to the FOLA program, that other works may not?
There are multiple ways people can participate in Wowzzzeee: they can make a Wowzzzeee for themselves or they can negotiate with a maker on how much they might want to pay that person to make it for them. The wowzzzeees people make and buy are theirs to keep and they are encouraged to wear it until they go to bed that night. For me, the most interesting part of the project is that people will still be wearing their wowzzzeee when they leave Arts House. We’ll see people in sparkles getting on the tram, heading to the supermarket, having dinner with friends etc. This is where the participant will start to feel the impact this garment is having on their everyday life and, perhaps, reflect on how clothes affect the way they react, relate and engage with others.
If you woke up tomorrow, in a world without art and creativity, how would you imagine this new found place?
We’d be limp bodies moving like robots without individual thoughts, feelings, opinions and style.