MADE IN ____         x          Callie Jensen

Thesis Collection 2014-2015 

“Made In ____” began as research into my family heritage, and swiftly evolved into deeper research into the history of American clothing making. My Great-Great-Grandmother Mimi emigrated from Hungary to a small farm in New Jersey during a time when necessity ruled over “accessory”. Quite ingeniously, she would repurpose empty cotton and linen feedbags into garments for herself and her young family. Inspired, I took it upon myself to do research into the history of this practice, and learned that starting as early as 1840, women across America did exactly the same thing. It was only after the great Depression and WWII that this American tradition was lost to efforts to modernize and streamline the food and fashion production industries.

Moved by the resourcefulness of these women, I began collecting vintage cotton feedbags from across the USA, while also sourcing natural, organic, and food-based fibers for the remainder of the fabrics in my collection.

Simultaneously I was motivated to explore the industries that phased out this practice.  The title “Made In ____” speaks to my interest in material resourcing and production practices in the fashion industry today. In order to advocate for transparency and ethical production practices, I’ve attached “Made in ____” labels to each of my garments, which dictate not only the specific fiber contents, but also, where the fabrics were made.

This project was generously sponsored by several US fabric millers: Sovereign Textiles – Greenville, South Carolina; White Oak Cone Denim – Greensboro, North Carolina; Organic Cotton Plus - Winsted, Connecticut; and Anzula Luxury Fibers – Fresno, California. With their support I was able to create my vision of a completely sustainable American Ready-to-Wear collection down to the zippers and threads. 

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