Labor Rights Glove

  • Labor Rights Glove
  • For Kevin O'Callahan's graduate product design class, we were asked to create a piece of fashion that made a political statement. I had never made any kind of clothing before, but as with most of Kevin's projects I found myself making something I thought was impossible into reality. I chose to create a glove in the style of "Chinese finger traps" to symbolize the existing labor rights abuses around the world.
    In 56% of the US, there are no protections from sexual orientation discrimination, even though the rate of this bias is comparable to gender and racial discrimination. Meanwhile, immigrant workers are under constant threat of deportation despite their contributions to American wealth. In the Midwest, labor unions are being broken and workers’ rights being reduced to 19th century levels. The Labor Rights glove shows that when we ban groups from contributing to our prosperity, we hurt ourselves. When we discriminate and abuse individuals, we trap ourselves in a weaker, less prosperous economy.
  • The Process
  • First a plaster mold of a hand had to be made. The glove would then be woven around the model hand. Since it is a Chinese finger trap pattern, the glove cannot come off once it is applied. Manikin hands rarely have the fingers apart, since it would be costly to replace the hand every time a finger breaks off. The things you learn...
  • Cutting away the mold, to reveal the plaster hand. This whole process took about a day.
  • The Final Product
  • The finished product. I taught myself how to weave the Chinese finger trap pattern. With help from an assistant, the weaving took about five hours.