fiftyRX3 was a year long web-based project examining the crossroads of style and sustainability. Aside from its personal exploration, the project hoped to shatter outdated images of sustainable design in fashion. Starting in the fall of 2005, I photographed everything I wore for a year with a goal of being 50% sustainable in my wardrobe. Sustainability was based on the eco-mantra "reuse, reduce, recycle", hence the title fiftyRX3. I also created a small collection of clothing, including a dress made from broken umbrellas that were reclaimed from the streets of New York.
Along with discussing sustainability in terms of materials and manufacturing, the website also explored our relationship to our clothing. How does clothing serve us functionally, stylistically and emotionally? How does it provide protection, comfort, conformity, belonging, indiviiduality and self-expression? Issues surrounding consumerism were also addressed. I was always interested in how I could get the maximum amount of style with the minimum amount of pieces. I also covered others' projects - such as those who wore nothing but a gray sweatsuit for a month, a woman who wore only a brown dress for a year, artist Andrea Zittel's uniform project, and a woman who dressed using only a 6-piece wardrobe for three months. I've been delighted to see these ideas continue to spiral and progress into current trends, such as seasonal microwardrobes, not to mention the increased availability of ecologically sensitive materials and manufacturing processes.
fiftyRX3 ended in 2006 and the website is no longer viewable. The project exceeded my expectations on a personal level and I was humbled that it received international press and was also included in several books on sustainable living. However, the biggest reward of the project was when readers or design students wrote in to say that they had changed the way they viewed fashion. Although I have moved on to other design endeavors, fiftyRX3 remains dear to my heart and I carry its influence with me.
- Jill Danyelle