MIC - Mask Integrated Clothing, 2013
COMME des MARXISTS, 2013
OUTSOURCING KUNERT, SYNTHETIC, AUSTRIA, 1960s/2013
After the death of my father this year, we had to empty out the family house. In the attack I found an old sports jacket my mother must have been wearing in the 1960s or even before since I can't remember it. It immediately caught my attention for its unusual design and reminded me of the sports outfits my grand mother had produced in ST. Anton /Arlberg, a high end ski resort where she was the leading tailor for decades into the 1960s. She was designing and custom tailoring ski outfits for high end clients ncluding royalties who frequented Zürs, Lech and St. Anton.
To my surprise the garment i found was not made by Wilhelmina Triendl but by KUNERT, Austria, a company that exists since 1949 and is in spite of fierce international competition still doing well and producing in Vorarlberg, right were I was born and lived for 19 years. This region of Austria is very small and has only 380 000 inhabitants but operates still a strong innovative textile sector that includs also WOLFORD, a world wide brand.
For this work, I not only copied the original design but made a dozen variations of it. It is interesting that due to lethal international competition from low costs producing countries around the world most European or American textile companies have either folded or outsourced production around the world.
Apart of the company and outsourcing history and context, I am also interested in the special use of stripes by this KUNERT sports jacket with which I play with colors. Today, this specific design looks to us very unusual since the world wide strength of ADIDAS and PUMA featuring always their branded design stripes on the sides, unified the world wide application of stripes.
It is also interesting to note, that the original label features very prominently the word SYNTHETIC, since this was innovative new textile technology and people seam to have embraced synthetics over organic and natural materials which is the current trend. I might add here that when I grew up some of the local small rivers changed their colors and consistency on a daily basis. The water would be one day natural, then totally yellow, or green or blue and come with 2 meter high bubbles that even pushed onto the crossing streets. As kids, we were quite amused by this spectacle, looked at it as a natural phenomena since nobody ever told us that this might have been hazardous. In the 1970s, in particular after the oil shock of 1973/74 the mood got very grim and the many companies closed down. Atop of that energy crisis with which many companies couldn't cope new environmental restrictions were put in place which helped the exodus of companies and forced those remaining to reinvent themselves. KUNERT obviously has succeeded in this. GANAHL TEXTILES - unrelated to my family - was only one very big former local textile company that folded around that time after nearly 200 years of existence.
For the exhibition BAZAAR, SITE COMPATIBLE PROJECTS , in Shanghai, I decided to offer my jackets for sale. A garment sales person in this given market place included my copy of the KUNERT, AUSTRIA jacket next to his merchandises and make it somehow organically disappear.
the original: KUNERT, SYNTHETIC, AUSTRIA
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL - THE EXACT COPY OF IT WAS STILL HANGING IN THE MARKET / EXHIBITION.
BAZAAR, SITE COMPATIBLE PROJECTS
see the KUNERT compnay history below - taken from web site
EXTILE KNOW-HOW BEARS THE NAME OF KUNERT
PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE
FOCUS ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
KEY DATES IN KUNERT TEXTILE TECHNOLOGY