The Laundry Pile: Materials, Meanings and Mundanities of Everyday Life




4pm-8.30pm Wednesday

Free Event



The cleaning and care of our clothes is a universal experience, yet how much thought do we give to it? The Laundry Pile aims to highlight domestic laundry practices in a one-day event including an exhibition of work in a central London laundrette, and a multi-disciplinary panel discussion.

4pm - 8.30pm: Exhibition and book launch at Lila’s Laundrette
5.45pm: Introduction to book 'Opening up the Wardrobe' by Kate Fletcher at Lila's Laundrette
6-6.45pm: Special performance by Emma Hoette 'Daily Catalogue'
6.45pm - 8pm: Panel discussion, with audience Q&A at the Carpenter’s Arms [directly opposite Lila’s Laundrette]
Tickets for the panel discussion are available via Eventbrite

Away from the dazzling glamour of high street fashion, clothes laundry is one of the hidden practices of fashion - it happens behind closed doors and is seldom spoken about. For most people, wearing clean looking and fresh smelling clothes is a routine part of everyday life but there is also something darker hidden in our laundry baskets. Clean clothes come at a high environmental cost - the collective use of domestic washing machines and dryers consume massive quantities of environmentally significant resources such as energy and water. The environmental impacts of laundering are inadvertent and somewhat ironic: laundry can be understood as a practice of both purity and pollution.

Looking beyond the mundanities of doing the laundry, this exhibition explores some of the cultural and social meanings that laundry practices help to reconstruct and reinforce. It brings together a range of work from a small group of fashion activists, theorists and researchers who have explored laundry from a range of different perspectives. It includes a mix of photography, garments, illustration and performance – giving an up close and personal glimpse into the secret world of laundry.

The event will also include the book launch of Opening up the Wardrobe: A Methods Book, edited by Kate Fletcher and Ingun Grimstad Klepp. The book presents a unique collection of 50 methods for exploring actions, relationships and material contents of wardrobes. During the exhibition and book launch, one of the book contributors, Emma Hoette, will perform Daily Catalogue - her method for exploring the wardrobe.

The panel discussion brings together the viewpoints of experts and academics from a range of disciplines and institutions. Through these diverse voices we aim to outline current understanding of laundry practices in terms of meaning, impact, and intervention. It is hoped that this discussion will inspire potential collaboration and further research.

Professor Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion
Dr Alexander Papiez, Development Chemist, IDEAL Manufacturing
Professor Rosie Cox, Department of Geography, Birkbeck University of London
Dr Victoria Kelley, Lecturer in Cultural Studies, Central Saint Martins
Dr Thomas Roberts, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Surrey

Dr Andrew Brooks, Department of Geography, Kings College London

By The Fire Collective

By the fire is a platform created to support the best possible fashion sustainability learning and education. Emerging from this platform is a collective of researchers and practitioners who are interested in promoting multi-disciplinary discussions around the impacts of consumer fashion behaviour. London Design Festival 2017 sees collective members from Kings College London, London College of Fashion and the University of Huddersfield coming together to collaborate on The Laundry Pile.

Principal Supporter

Major Supporters

Headline Partner