gallery show uncovers the hours of artisanal work in faustine steinmetz’s slow denim

A retrospective exhibition in Paris presents denim jackets and jeans that have taken up to 1,080 hours to complete.

by Charlotte Gush
09 July 2016, 12:05am

The breathtaking artisanal work of young London-based designer Faustine Steinmetz and her team has gone on show at Joyce Gallery in Paris. Presenting a retrospective selection of denim jackets and jeans, each garment is displayed alongside information about how many hours it took to make, the number of artisans who worked on it, and the materials and tools used.

From silicone and oil painted jeans that took one artisan 14 hours to make, to a felted pair that four artisans spent 50 hours on -- exhausting 45 felting needles in the process -- to the most work-intensive garment, a cotton canvas pair of jeans that five artisans, each with a tapestry needle, spent a total of 1,080 hours forming into a thick wavy texture.

"I create pieces that everyone has or has had in their wardrobe at some point in their life, except I make them from scratch using artisanal techniques," Faustine explains in a release about the exhibition, which is titled Slow Denim.

"I find our contemporary relationship to buying and owning very wrong," the designer continues. "We no longer buy things we like, we no longer even buy things that we intend to keep, and we are only interested in things that are cheap and readily accessible. Everything is disposable. My work is a reaction to these wasteful ways."

"I focus on denim because it is the symbol of industrial clothing, an everyday object, valueless to most and worn by so many. I work hours on them because I want to add value where normally very little value is seen," she concludes, asking, "Why should a pair of denim that you wear everyday not be given the same level of attention as a couture dress, destined to only ever be worn once?".


Text Charlotte Gush

faustine steinmetz
joyce gallery