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On Valentine’s Day, the WhiteBox art gallery in New York City hosted a runway show with a political twist. The diverse group of models featured in “Illegal Fashion” wore dresses made of canvas, linen, burlap, and recycled paper. Painted with splotches of bold colors, the garments bore provocative phrases like “I am illegal,” “deport me,” and “ICE me.”
Artist Maria de Los Angeles curated the show with WhiteBox founder Juan Puntes. de Los Angeles also designed the dresses modeled. The 29-year-old has a personal connection to the garments, as well as to the messages painted on them.
Lot - Show - Identity - Range - Experiences
“I’m undocumented,” she says. “So a lot of the show was about my identity. There is a large range of immigrant experiences. There are a lot of stereotypes, both negative and positive.”
“Illegal Fashion” not only aimed to shine a spotlight on the immigrant experience, but also to draw attention to the fact that the work of immigrants drives the fashion business. The Pew Research Center has found that the textile, apparel, and leather manufacturing industry is second only to private households in employing the greatest share of immigrants, with a 22 percent share of authorized and a 14 percent share of unauthorized immigrants. Accordingly, the nation’s immigration policies directly affect the apparel industry.
Trump - Administration - September - Deferred - Action
The Trump administration announced on September 5th that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The federal government implemented DACA in 2012 to give some undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children work authorization and a temporary deportation reprieve. Critics of a DACA repeal point to findings that ending the program could cost the nation $340 billion.
Congress members on both sides of the political aisle are trying to reach an agreement about the DREAM Act with President Trump. That legislation would allow DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants...
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