High Arctic to High Fashion
MOSAiC Sea Ice Premieres at New York Fashion Week
The Sea Ice Collection is a 2023 collaboration with design house IAGU to tell the story of the diminishing Arctic sea ice cover through fashion. Each Sea Ice garment represents a different facet of textile sustainability and is patterned with different crystalline structures of Arctic sea ice through two annual cycles of growth and melt. The Sea Ice Collection, which merges climate science and slow fashion education, materializes abstract climate science concepts and provides tactile, sensory introductions to the Arctic Ocean.
Fashion is a phenomenological interface between our internal and external experiences. Arctic sea ice is a boundary, an interface between the ocean and atmosphere that regulates exchanges of gases, heat and light between water and sky. Just as our skin helps regulate our body’s temperature, Arctic sea ice helps regulate the earth’s temperature, and it is, scientifically named, a fabric of crystals that changes throughout the year. This fabric is thinning and vulnerable to greater exchanges of energy between the ocean and atmosphere.
The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry, which largely runs on the exploitation of young women, is present in virtually every area of environmental concern. The fashion industry is one of the the biggest polluters in the world—second only to the oil industry— and responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions (more than the sum total of the maritime and aviation industry combined), 20% of the world’s wastewater and 35% of the ocean’s micro plastic pollution. The facts are relentless: the textile industry is the second largest pollutant of water globally, second only to agriculture; 8,000 liters of water—what one person drinks in 7 years—is needed to make 1 pair of jeans; 2% of garment workers—of which 80% are women—earn a living wage; and, 60% of all clothing made is landfilled or incinerated within 1 year of its production with the average person throwing away 81 lbs of clothing each year.