Fashion Bone: Luxury, mass production and poverty by Su Ling Gyr

Fashion Bone is a multi Media project, completed between 2012 – 2013 including video, photography, performance and drawing.

What comes to mind when Su Ling Gyr thinks of Shanghai is progress. Her grandpa fled China during the revolution, it is only decades later, that she is here checking out the skyscrapers and luxury stores, several of her European friends who work in fashion now take jobs in Asia.


Industrialisation. Growth. Growth that has been powered by anonymous workers in factories. Work at the hands of millions of Chinese looking for betterment. And now increasingly looking for luxury and fashion. They have traded in the communist costume in favour of trendy fashion and identity.

Fashion Bone is about identity, and how identity is crafted though luxury and fashion. How we use fashion to dress ‘our bare bones’, how we use it to empower and to classify but also to blend in and to follow. Fashion Bone is also about individuality and luxury, vs. mass production and poverty. The frivolous and the ugly. Life and death.

China is the home to textile manufacturing. Having worked in the fashion industry and having had her own company, Su Ling Gyr always felt empathy to the workers behind the sewing machines. Their sweat is another mans bread. And another ones purchase.

The value development is similar to selling Art and to what extent a purchase creates identities.

In her project Fashion Bone Su Ling Gyr attempts to live through the stages of “added value” starting at the bottom of the “production chain”. She swaps her identity and puts herself on the other end of the spectrum. Staging a performance as a factory worker, sewing newspaper pleats each day in the gallery in the week running up to the opening, she compares her own working process to that of a factory worker. She prompts people to think about the provenance of their purchases, questioning value, identity and luxury. fashion bone

In addition to her performance, a video piece is screening at the gallery. She created this video with celebrated fashion photographer Nick West (Nick&Chloe) in Berlin in March this year for project Fashion Bone. In the video, Su Ling Gyr objectifies herself ‘grooming’ a Fashion Bone, in preparation for display. She talks about beauty, fetishism, identity and fashion, while dressed in a surgical uniform. Her take on Fashion Bone, is definitely an insiders point of view, using fashion as a main inspiration to her message. On the wall of the gallery, she displays photos of the finished ‘couture’ bones, she created in form of fine art prints.

On another level “Fashion Bone” looks at the necessity and absurdity of fashion. Our need for it, for personal enhancement and identity, the demand that never ceases, the political message of it and getting literally down to the “Bone” of what fashion and our need for beauty is all about. And to what extent we are ready to suffer for it, and have others suffer. The concept of fashion being a concept that gains momentum when bellies are full.

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