Artist Maggie J hopes to raise awareness about the impact of fast fashion on women, human rights and the environment with her “Rolling Stone”, a massive ball of clothes destined for the dump.
Maggie J spent hours slicing clothes charity shops were unable to sell into ribbons before crocheting them together into a ball she named the Rolling Stone.
Made of 1001 garments and measuring around 11km when unravelled, Maggie J said she wanted to make the waste of the fast fashion industry visible.
“My view is that we need to buy fewer clothes to help the planet,” she said.
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She said her view was that people should buy fewer clothes, in better quality, and “transform” them when they came to the end of their wearable life to delay the trip to landfill and “extend their life”.
“Charity shops end up paying tens of thousands per year in dumping fees to get [unwanted clothes] put into landfill because they can’t sell them.”
She said the physical presence of the ball, and the numbers attached to the Rolling Stone – 11km of fabric, weighing up to 200kg – made the problem easier for people to understand.
In 2010, four per cent of the contents of Auckland’s landfills were clothes. In 2018, 6397 tonnes of waste in Christchurch was clothing. There is no national measure of how many clothes New Zealanders throw away each year.
The Rolling Stone grew from an exhibition, Enough is Enough: The Fast Fashion Trap, during which she and helpers crocheted over 300 garments.
She kept up with the project after the exhibition closed, and during the Covid-19 lockdown grew the ball from 500 garments to its grand total of 1001.
“I think rolling a funny ball like this down the street will raise awareness, both positive and negative.”