U.S. Garment Industry Art
Guess Poster, 1995, 11” x 27”
In 1994, a group of six women artists began working with “Common Threads,” a group of women academics concerned about Los Angeles garment worker issues. The group included Mary-Linn Hughes, Allesandra Mactazuma, Judy Branfman, Eva Cockroft, Roxanne Auer and myself. Our first project was to make a reproducible poster that could be placed on buses about the difference between what worker is paid to sew a pair of Guess jeans and the retail price of those jeans. The second project was entitled “Hidden Labor: Uncovering L.A.’s Garment Industry.” For a year the group researched the history of women in the garment industry in Los Angeles during the 20th century. We applied for and received a Community Redevelopment Grant to mount a year-long installation about this history in the windows of an abandoned Robinson’s Department Store in downtown Los Angeles in an area adjacent to the historic and present garment industry. The history was written in English and Spanish so that workers in the area could learn about this history. During the year that the installation was up, busses of children were brought to the site and we gave tours and put on programs. All the images included, with the exception of the protest in Phnom Penh in image 4, were taken in Los Angeles.