Jailhouse Jackets
Year: 2016
As I was growing into maturity, my friends and I took on an identity of “Against” in our appearance in order to distance ourselves from the status quo as well as use shared symbolic dress to find community with one another. Friendship and camaraderie is what helped those of us that survived do so. Other friends who were not able to survive oppressive alienation did not make it into this decade. A society that further distances the alienated and mentally divergent by placing them into cages is a sick society. In both tribute to my friends who didn’t make it this far and others out there who are struggling I created these jackets. They remind me of the fight that I was fighting as a youth. I fought for a healthy identity when facing a social atmosphere that told me there was something wrong with me. I fought for community and friendship when faced with a status quo that wanted to erase the divergent.

The “L.A. County” jacket depicts an image pulled from the news (June 22, 2015) of an attempted suicide at a mental health ward  in L.A. County Jail which houses 2,400 mentally ill inmates. The “Adams County” jacket depicts an image pulled from the news of a heroin addict dying from neglect in Adams County Jail in Colorado (May 17, 2015, detainee Tyler Tabor).

In a society that wants to push down and hide away those struggling with mental illness or addiction, these jackets are both a tribute to those affected by these social conditions and a visual to reinforce dialogue about what is happening in our detention facilities.