The Rational Dress Society

This is a Studio #2: Flex Space Residency

The Rational Dress Society

  • April 1 – June 30, 2016
  • Chicago, IL

The Rational Dress Society is a counter-fashion collective founded by Chicago-based designer Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Los Angeles-based artist Maura Brewer. Together they produce JUMPSUIT, an open source, ungendered monogarment to replace all clothes in perpetuity. We believe that the rejection of choice (otherwise defined as the yoke of relentless consumption within the capitalist paradigm) might open us up to new possibilities and better ways of living. What if you never had to pick out an outfit again?

JUMPSUIT is disseminated in two forms, as a premade garment and an open source pattern, available to download free of charge. Rooted in the visual language of denim and the history of work-wear, JUMPSUIT imagines the possibility of an egalitarian garment, liberated from the signifiers of class, race and gender that inscribe our usual relation to clothes. JUMPSUIT aims to accommodate 248 different body sizes, using non-gendered terminology. The design draws on histories of revolutionary fashion, from the Sans-culotte movement of the early 19th century, to the Futurist Tuta of the 1910’s. JUMPSUIT accommodates a wide variety of body types while preserving a manufactured sameness among individual wearers, thus drawing upon histories of feminist and utopian garment design.

JUMPSUIT is a wearable garment, but it is also a conversation – a collective reimagining of our relationship to dress. To this end, the Rational Dress Society organzes lectures, performances, and make-your-own-JUMPSUIT workshops in order to facilitate public debate around questions of fashion, identity and consumption.

About the artists: 

JUMPSUIT has been exhibited nationally and internationally, recently as part of the exhibition “Utopia School,” at the Dome of Visions in Copenhagen, at Machine Project in Los Angeles, and at Flux Factory in New York. The Rational Dress Society received an International Cultural Exchange Grant from the Swedish Art Grants Committee in 2015, facilitating the presentation of JUMPSUIT at several venues in Sweden including The Uppsala Museum of Art and the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Recent press includes the New York Times, the LA Weekly and Surface Magazine.

Abigail Glaum-Lathbury is a Chicago-based designer, and Assistant Professor of Fashion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For the past ten years, she has produced ready-to-wear collections under her labels Elmidae and Abigail Glaum-Lathbury. She has participated in many juried markets and showrooms, selling her collections internationally.

Maura Brewer is a Los Angeles-based visual artist. She received her MFA from UC Irvine in 2011, and was a 2014-2015 Whitney Independent Study Program fellow. Her videos and performances have been exhibited internationally in Vienna, Los Angeles and New York. She teaches at The University of Southern California and Art Center College of Design.


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