Reimagining Ladies Tights

Reimagining Ladies Tights examined the importance women place on tights and hosiery and the role these seemingly innocuous items play in how many view themselves and other women, with few realising the enormous environmental damage these garments cause.

The article that follows is the press release for the project launch in May 2013, the large number of stories collected can be viewed on the project Tumblr site here.


Collecting old tights and stockings, public washing, creating yarn while storytelling, a promenade photoshoot before producing something new, this project will re-imagine how women perceive these easily discarded garments. 

Reimagining Ladies Tights examined the importance women place on tights and hosiery and the role these seemingly innocuous items play in how many view themselves and other women, with few realising the enormous environmental damage these garments cause.
Tights Dress and Tights Ball

How Women View Themselves?

When women wear tights or stockings, how do they view themselves? How does it make them feel and how are they perceived? Do tights and stockings dictate how society is formed?

Russian women wear tights in Moscow as ‘it’s seen as trashy not to wear tights’ whereas in Gambia ‘some girls would wear fishnets – people would look at them badly thinking they are call girls’ When a Gambian woman meets a Russian woman in Catford, South London, how do they perceive each other?

Re-imagining Ladies Tights is a live conceptual art performance experience that examines the role of tights and stocking in our society. Commissioned by Lewisham Council, with support from Arts Council England, art-duo Akleriah will be collecting broken tights and stockings from across the London Borough of Lewisham, supported by Platform-7, to ask why such easily disposable attire carries so much kudos. 

Environmental Awareness

Part of Lewisham Council’s drive to encourage more textile recycling, this 6 week intervention in Catford [extended to over 3 years] will ask women to consider the wider issues and their relationship with tights and stockings. It will examine the politics that surrounds an item that appears to be essential apparel and discuss how women use tights and stockings, beyond a fashion accessory, while men often distinguish alternative views. 

Story Gathering

In series of female-only gatherings at ‘AgeUK’ Catford Broadway shop, the performance experience will generate stories and thoughts on the attire that has shaped female body image for over four generations. By publically displaying these stories on the walls of the old Catford Civic Centre, the project looks to unveil how women distinguish themselves and how men identify with tights and stockings. 

CRAZY TIGHTS WOMEN

I met these women outside ageUK today…and although not the first time I have exchanged conversation, I was taken aback again… ‘what are they doing here??’ With no seeming explanation they sit on the pavement and knit tights….Yes!! you heard me right. Curiousity killed the cat and all that…and of course I had to ask them …what is going on??? 

image

I want to say its great to see something interesting going on in Catford..and great to see the crazy tights women (even if they do freak me out every time I see them). Next time I might have a better conversation and join in with their knitting..or whatever it is they do.  :-)

Please do more of what you are doing and bring some art and installation to Catford!

Best regards, Peter

The event begins with our collection from specially handmade recycled bags for recycling tights hanging in locations across Lewisham, including Lesoco (formally Lewisham College), Goldsmiths, age UK, Laban, Lewisham / Catford town centres. Full details on the blog and details on how to order a recycle bag for a specific location. 

A public wash performance will take place on 21st May in Catford Broadway before the tights are cut into yarn on 28th May to create something completely re-imagined. Women over 18 from any background can become involved in this FREE unique explorative event and asked to donate an item to age UK to be sold in the shop or purchase an item to support the work of this important local charity.

Part of Lewisham Council’s drive to encourage more textile recycling, this 6 week intervention in Catford will ask women to consider the wider issues and their relationship with tights and stockings. It will examine the politics that surrounds an item that appears to be essential apparel and discuss how women use tights and stockings beyond a fashion accessory while men often distinguish alternative views.

In series of female-only gatherings at ‘age UK’s’ Catford Broadway shop, the performance experience will generate stories and thoughts on the attire that has shaped female body image for over four generations. By publically displaying these stories on the walls of the old Catford Civic Centre, the project looks to unveil how women distinguish themselves and how men identify with tights and stockings.

Tights Story - Christina - Barelegged

Christina, German - For a couple of months abroad in Athens, I have no tights in my luggage, just letting legs be bare, open to the sun. No second skin is necessary or desired, for me and in general, I think, neither for protection nor for beauty. You see that everybody enjoys the air and sun here, it simply feels good and makes legs shine – so you see many great legs on show!

PS: I like your tights project very much and the thoughts you and people have shared. I am following it since we met, via tumblr.

For Akleriah, the event allows them to investigate “the image, gender politics, social and material value of women’s tights. By working with women volunteers in Catford and their personal tights’ stories, it is envisaged that a more significant social meaning, which discarded tights carry, and make their recycling problematic and challenging, will be addressed”. 

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “This is a really interesting idea and I hope it will help women reflect on some of the many social expectations placed on them. Of course, there’s also a very practical element to this installation and performance. We want women to recycle their old tights and stockings by putting them in the textile bring banks across the borough.”

Awards, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016

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