Black stains on a                                

                   Black stains.

                          Black blood.

The Black Plague,

                  Of the 21st Centrury.





Consumer Industry,



                            Soon History.


                   Earth's bled dry.

In 2008, President George W. Bush and Congress reversed the ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Thus began a 7 year struggle to protect a striking, volatile, and unique land.

This. Is. Karma.


"The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) calculates a 75 percent chance of one or more spills of more than 1,000 barrels of oil over the next several decades if Arctic drilling proceeds as planned" -



Glacier originated as a project exploring the narrative of the polyester white dress shirt. Not unlike the t-shirt or the blue jean, the dress shirt is a ubiquitous disposable fashion staple, and one which has transformed over time to meet the demand of cheep fast fashion.  Once fashioned in cotton with  removable, washable collars and cuffs, the dress shirt has now become a disposable item reliant on the extraction of crude oil for its production. According to the ‘International Fabricare Institute’, shirts are designed to last less than two years, or about 35 washes. Designing for short lifetimes, and greater market turnaround is dangerous. As an item representative of propriety and cleanliness, the white dress shirt brings to questions what mankind is willing to do to the environment in pursuit of fashion or personal image.  Both the arctic and a white shirt are pristine when taken care of,  but to pursue oil at the cost of the arctic is ultimately to maintain the integrity of trivial matters like a wardrobe over the integrity of an entire biome. 

Glacier is a short performance pulling on the paradox of white polyester and the effect of crude oil on the pristine and vulnerable.

Materials: Two recycled polyester dress shirts, staples, thread, paint.

Watercolor, pen, pencil, ink, collage.

According to the US EIA, In 2015 the United States consumed a total of 7.08 billion barrels of petroleum products, an average of about 19.4 million barrels per day

Polyester, a polymer derived from petrol to manufacture textiles, amounted to 34 million tons of fabric in 2007.

"Tecnon Orbichem estimates that more than 98% of future fiber production will be synthetics, and 95% of that synthetic fiber will be polyester"

According to a study done by the International Fabricare Institute, dress shirts are designed to last no longer than two years, or approximately 30 to 40 washes.

On a whole consumers are buying four times as many clothes as they did twenty years ago. 

The US alone throws away 11 Million tons of textiles annually.

"Shirts are yet another victim of our disposable society, in which obsolescence is built-in, and the idea of make-do-and-mend is considered quaint." - Guy Walters






A fast fashion system which takes and wastes non-renewable resources can only meet an innevitable end. 

Design Solution

Polyester is not the problem.  While oil extraction has big environmental risks, so does the the production of conventional cotton.  If done wrong, both are destructive and resource hungry. 

 A comprehensive study (pdf) of various textiles by the European Commission found that environmental impacts per kilogram of fiber are higher for cotton than other materials, primarily because of the large quantities of toxic pesticides and fertilizers required to grow cotton, which also requires a great deal of water (pdf).  Ecologically speaking, polyester is no worse—and maybe better—than conventional cotton. Polyester, by contrast, uses very little water, and while producing it involves some toxic chemicals, those generally aren’t released into the environment (pdf)." - Quartz

As a polymer based material, polyester has the potential to be completely recycled and regenerated into new textiles.  It also may be generated from other single polymer plastics, which avoids pulling resources directly from the environment.  In theory, synthetic textile production can be a closed loop system where all used material is upcyled back into new textiles.  This follows the Cradle to Cradle design model for technological nutrients.  Given that cotton is so environmentally demanding, and future textile production is estimated to be 95% polyester, there is good reason to redirect design efforts towards closed loop synthetics.  

Using Format