identity in a bag

June 6, 2010

The design duo schmidttakahashi from Berlin (Eugenie Schmidt and Mariko Takahashi)  found a great fascination on used garments, which are affected by individual owner. They are no longer anonymous objects as soon as they end up to the hands of particular person. Even if the clothes are mass produced for an unknown number of consumers. So schmidttakahashi developed an ambitious project:


We set up a custom made container and collected used clothes. Each contributor receives an ID number when he or she make a donation. These numbers are designed to help the participants track their personal clothes afterwards.


We have received an enormous amount and wide
variety of used clothing so far. We register every
piece in the order of the donations with the number
identifying the former owner (anonymously), the
color and the material, and photograph each of
them. We set up a digital database, which helps us
by searching and choosing particular clothes for the
next step.


Nasty ordure and dirt are the disturbing factors of garments. We clean the used clothes thoroughly, and try to enhance the other characteristics as design elements such as cuffs, holes, stains and usual traces of use, by repairing and placing them in particular positions. We cut carefully the clothes apart and put the pieces in a new combination together. The attraction of all these pieces comes from not only the mixture of materials and textures, but also from the unusual combination of different origins of old clothes. Each new garment obtain a new ID number and is linked with the used clothes, which are contained in the garment.


A label containing an RFID chip is attached on each finished garment. This RFID chip and a suitable reader enable the user to access our archive. We developed a shop installation with this technology, which shows the history of the garments. This is an ideal tool for this project because the RFID-chips are persistent, durable, and washable. The information remains on the garments until they finally will be donated in our container after their use.


In additional to the RFID, we employ internet as our main communication platform. We put our archive on our website so that user can share and search the story of the garments and its transformation, both as a buyer the history of the new garments, and as a contributer the afterlife of his or her old garments. We concern this platform as an ideal media to show the diversity and uniqueness of the garments we produce, in which each piece distinguish from another.

At the BerliNordik “bright green design” exhibitions schmidttakahashi will present their product “Jackenfuttertasche”.

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