Social impact designers Laura Francois and Von Wong didn’t set out to create the tallest closet in the world—they did create it, and it’s currently suspending a ziggurat-of-fabric inside the Mall of Arabia in Cairo. But the concept is more beautiful than just a tall closet. It’s a way for us to feel numbers. Standing beneath a lifetime of clothing (3,000 pieces to be exact), the average first-world consumer can look up and truly feel the scale of our consumption.
Laura, Von and company spent five days (five weeks in artist time) assembling a 6,000 kg steel closet-frame. They laid 180 meters of wire, hung 3,000 pieces of clothing and constructed two massive doors at the entrance of the space that read: “This is the tallest closet In the world. Inside is what you will wear in one lifetime.”
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Confronting consumers with their lifetime of purchases was a heavy goal to undertake, but, it wouldn’t be a Von Wong project without a badass photo-shoot, friends, ear-to-ear smiles, his signature jump, and a charity-partnership.
“Depending on where you live, clothing donations are not always the best course of action,” Von says, “but with over 220,000 refugees in Egypt (and rising), we thought it would be best to use the installation as an opportunity to collect clothing for the duration of its life.” Every article of clothing in the #TallestCloset has been promised to http://www.refuge-egypt.org.
The two social impact designers are on the frontlines of a war against a 550 billion dollar industry. They are absurdly outnumbered, but there is a silver lining; while wealthy adversaries fight with advertisements and capital, these two artists, Laura and Von, are fighting with much more powerful stuff. The truth is: next time many of us go to buy a new pair of whatever, advertisements won’t be on our minds, but our lifetime closets might be—especially for shoppers at the Mall of Arabia.