11th anniversary of In Your Factory Are the Doors Locked?

The annual commemoration of the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory occurred at the ILGWU embedded in the Fashion, Fiber and Materials option of the Art Department at Cal State LA.

To date 56 blouses have been completed from the men’s shirting fabric.

Today I continued the production of orange acetate fabric blouses.

I completed 208 tucks on 26 shirt waist blouse backs. Audio recording of the production of 16 tucks on two backs.


On the 110th anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Waist Fire, I marked ten years of commemorative production for the durational project IN YOUR FACTORY ARE THE DOORES LOCKED.  On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City burned, killing 146 workers. It was one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial herstory, as the deaths were largely preventable–most of the victims died as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories, and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers.

I began this commemoration reflecting on the continuation of the human rights abuses of global garment workers. In the fast fashion race to the bottom there have been fires and building collapses killing over 1700 workers, most of them women. To support this commemorative work, I received an anonymous donation of two-hundred yards of men’s shirting and acetate lining remnant fabrics from a Los Angeles garment factory. This material donation provided me with the materials to cut out 146 shirt waist blouses. The pattern was generated from a herstorical image of shirtwaist blouse.  

The production was assisted by the former Faux Frau’s and on one occasion the public.  The production has occurred with the Bicycle Powered Sewing Factory, at Thank You For Coming, and the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms.  One year no production occurred as I was in New York attending the AFL-CIO NYC Central Labor Councils commemoration, where a fire truck ladder was raised to the 8th floor of the building, marking how the 9, 10 and 11th floors couldn’t be reached.

The last two years of production have occurred in isolation.  To date 56 blouses have been completed from the men’s shirting fabric.

Today began the production of the orange acetate fabric blouses. I completed twenty-three collars.

My Mission in America

Frau Fiber’s Mission in America
Huntington Beach Art Center
June 15-July 7, 2019
Curated by Carole Frances Lung, Frau Fiber’s biographer and Archivist

In video, installation, performance, sculpture and banners this exhibition introduces Orange County to me and my mission to transform the fast fashion apparel supply and demand system.   Embodied in the uniform I wear and the action I take. I am a former East German textile worker, turned international super hero. Advocating for “Fast Fashion” production transparency; honoring the labor behind the label; and emancipation from consumption through skill-sharing, I ask the public to exchange their leisure time for the production and/or mending of textiles and apparel.  I have created durational works addressing these issues for LGBTQ centers; Library Maker spaces; craft, art and design museums; and academic and community galleries and centers.

img_4547-768x512Tailor Made a pop-up shop, where I offer my services for mending, alterations and tailoring to the public. Bring your items and the cost will be determined with a spin of the Wheel of Wages* plus the cost of materials needed.


Days and times:
Tuesday – Wed – Thursday 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27,  3-6 pm

Tailor Made Pop up at the Reef


Tailor Made: Pop up alterations and mending shop by Frau Fiber March 1, 7-10 pm  and 2 by appointment. With a spin the Wheel of Wages* the cost of a custom alteration will be determined! For a limited time, alterations and mending services will be executed by Frau Fiber. Frau Fiber is a lost generation East German garment worker who campaigns for the transparency of the labor behind the fast fashion supply chain.

*Cost of labor on the wheel of wages was determined by JustJobs Global Wage Trends for Apparel Workers.


This event is made possible by CalArts Reef Residents Love’s Remedies* inaugural exhibition, Augmented Realities: Performance Art in Real Life organized by Christina Valentine and Hannah Kim Varamini. Reinterpreting AR as an idea, Augmented Realities: Performance In Real Life explores the work of artists who complicate the divisions of artist/individual or performer/activist.

Frau Fiber Vs. the Machines

I’m taking on contemporary apparel manufacturing, attempting to spin yarn, knit a tube sock and knit a sweater as fast as a machine.  This competition is inspired by the folk-lore of the ultimate working-class hero: John Henry. Henry, who was immortalized in verse and myth in the 1800’s, fought and lost a valiant battle against the drill machine that took his life and ultimately replaced the jobs of tireless railroad workers.



2017 Global Wage Awards

FRAU Fiber’s Global Wage Awards:

Highest Rate for Unskilled Labor award goes to:

Gold – Indonesia

Silver – Philippines

Bronze – China


Highest Minimum Wage goes to:

Gold – Indonesia

Silver – Vietnam

Bronze- Jordan


Highest Overtime Wage goes to:

Gold – Indonesia

Silver – Jordan

Bronze – Vietnam


Highest Benefits goes to:

Gold – Indonesia

Silver – Nicaragua

Bronze – Jordan







If you are going to shop fast, look for brands manufacturing in these countries.


Data collected from International Labor Organization: Wages and Working Hours in the Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear Industries.

On My Mind

an un-aired Talk Labor.  Wednesday April 12, 2017.

Phil Ochs I ain’t marching anymore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kn0W4C0quk

In the News:

Wage growth  – Money Beat



The Great Salt March



Tax Day



Rana Plaza GWC March




Garment Workers Center will be marching through the garment district on April 22nd and stopping at a downtown Ross to picket and commemorate the anniversary of our campaign, the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, and connecting the global and local issues.

Here is our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1400542846670155/


Phil Ochs: What are you fighting for? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N93OCCBXGXc

January Talk Labor

Today’s show had some technical difficulties. Decided to post the script, and links to various materials and songs.  Enjoy.
This is Talk Labor with Frau Fiber, streaming Kchung.org, 1870 am


Ewan MacColl Fourpence a day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_88IotgM8U  1.15

Stewart Cameron – The Grinding Machine 3.56 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQmWwm93iw


Labor report

At the conclusion of 2016, the U.S. labor market is in its best shape since the recession, with nearly every measure of the market at its most favorable level.

Favorable for whom?

At the same time, economic confidence? has improved slightly in recent years,

people are holding on to their money, and not shopping, but they are not sewing either. 

Concerns about the job market are widespread, and not just among Trump’s voters who want to bring back manufacturing jobs

hope they realize they might be getting third world wages to bring those jobs back

and we will watch the gig economy grow

and thus the end of work as we know it, no more benefits or paid holidays.

With the sustained and continued recovery, why do job-market worries persist?

Because the jobs are low pay? And the cost of living continues to rise?

The labor department says, recent data isn’t as good as it first appears. Plus, the overall U.S. numbers hide big differences across industries, regions, and demographic groups, some of whom are faring badly.

No surprise there let’s hide the bad news, but people living on minimum wage know what’s going on.

And finally, now that the labor market is far from the acute crisis of the recession, the market’s chronic conditions are easier to see and perhaps more possible to address.  Are

Chronic conditions under employeed collage graduates earning minium wage, or the unemployed who have left the work force entirely?

On the up side, thanks to years of job growth, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6%—its lowest level since August 2007.

People are working in the gig economy 12 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week, to make just make the rent.

BUT payroll growth was much lower in 2016 than 2015,

which means workers are not getting raises.

Let’s reflect the job report and compare it to your own employment situation, how much do you have in your pocket, are you paying your bills, and is there anything left in bank? Or under the bed? It’s time to start drafting those letters, making those phone calls to Mr. Andrew Puzder, the next labor secretary, and let him know what you think.  His address is: and phone number:



Bus boys Minium wage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caEMj01XPCE  3.23

They might be giants, everything right is wrong again 2.20  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH21QovdhZs&index=16&list=RD4zNoxjUUyec

Fifth Harmony Work from home 3.39 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GL9JoH4Sws


Textile news

California has more than its share of official symbols: the state mineral is gold, it’s animal is the grizzly bear, and its state fossil the saber-toothed cat.

The California State Assembly added one more item to this list by passing a bill declaring denim its new state fabric. Sponsored by Democratic assembly member Marc Levine, the bill lays out a clear rationale for the declaration, starting with a definition of denim: “Denim is a sturdy cotton twill fabric [whose] history is interwoven with Californias history from the 1850s through today,” The bill suggests that it’s designed to celebrate the state’s cotton farmers, its textile producers, and its garment manufacturers.

The bill’s number, A.B. 501, betrays its true honoree: Levi Strauss. California is declaring Levi’s its state company, one of California’s iconic institutions, which no longer makes clothes in the Golden State—and it never sourced its denim here.  California’s history with denim is very real, but the fabric isn’t really a part of the state’s present, despite its growing micro-industry of high-end jeans.  1.56

Denim Consider the source 12.32 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAKAe-GhA70

Neil Diamond Forever in blue jeans 3.31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdX81S4iWmo&list=PL0msuI7SJDFd-hG78LZ-IOMA98dTha35d

American Eagle Denim song 2.43 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1K0OHW8OJ8

Denim: the music video 5.00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZcBzTdUlYM


Looking back    

On this day in 1912 in the dead of a Massachusetts winter, the great Lawrence Textile Strike began—commonly referred to as the “Bread and Roses” strike. Accounts differ as to whether a woman striker actually held a sign that read “We Want Bread and We Want Roses.” No matter where it came from It’s a wonderful phrase, as appropriate for the Lawrence strikers and for the Los Angeles Garment Workers today: the notion that, in addition basic necessities, people should have “a sharing of life’s glories,” as James Oppenheim put it in his poem “Bread and Roses.”

Though over 100 years have passed, the Lawrence strike resonates as one of the most important in the history of the United States. Like many labor conflicts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the strike was marked by obscene disparities in wealth and power, open collusion between the state and business owners, large scale violence against unarmed strikers, and great ingenuity and solidarity on the part of workers. In important ways the strike was also unique. It was the first large-scale industrial strike, and overwhelming a majority of the strikers were immigrants, women and children, and the strike was guided in large part by the revolutionary strategy and vision of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Beyond its historical significance, elements of this massive textile strike may be instructive to building a much needed radical working class movement today. Some philosophical and strategic characteristics of the stike we can refer to are: direct action, the prominent role of women, the centrality of class, participatory decision-making, egalitarianism, an authentic belief in the Wobbly principle that We Are All Leaders.


Joan Baez, bread and roses 2.40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWkVcaAGCi0

Jack White – Sittin on top of the world 3.44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXeT7zYkZAM&list=PL7B57E6B1D4B1D3E7


Sponsorship Talk Labor is sponsored ILGWU Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms, 322 Elm Ave. LB

January events 

Mend America:

Presented by MADE by Millworks, and the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms January 6-February 4, 2017.   Mend America is an occupation that animates the my Mend America Pledge by “crafting spaces where all people are welcome”. The exhibition features work by my me the Faux Fraus, Lauren Becker, Elise Bernal, Krista Feld, Steven Front, Judith Moman, and special guests.  This gathering of textile objects, installations, and “Peace Werk* Events”, tie together ideas of mending, self-care, volunteerism, home, and memory. Making space for, collaborating, engaging, conversation, and remaining vigilant and responsive citizens in this post-fact Trump environment.


Mend America Inauguration day activities:  Mend America official communication.   In the wake of the election and inauguration of President Trump, I will instigate a four-year campaign of producing patches and writing letters to government officials, stating her growing concerns for America.  You are invited to come and make your own patches and stating your concerns.  Political Theory with Faux Frau Jam.   FF Jam has a long history as a performance artists, including a stint as a licensed attorney for the state of Massachusetts.  The last hour of inauguration day activities Faux Frau Jam will share some of America’s past political Brouhahas and discuss a few pieces of our political machinery that hold opportunities for resilience and resistance.

Friday, January 20, 12- 6 pm


Sewing Rebellion   Good not Goods the Sewing Rebellion is committed to providing equipment and knowledge to make do and mend, this year the Sewing Rebellion will look back at the history of labor and protest, as a model for how to be vigilant participants today.   In January, participates will also learn practical applications for making body banners, so you can wear your voice.

Saturday January 14, 12-4 pm The Center 

Sunday January 15, 5-9 pm ILGWU

SR Brunch @ Thank You For Coming Saturday Jan 28, 11 am – 3 pm

If you are interested in becoming a FF and starting your own SR email me @ Fraufiber@gmail.com


Eco Sessions  EcoSessions : Innovations in Textiles

January 12, 2017

7:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)

This EcoSessions will gather leaders in the latest in ‘smart textiles’ to discuss how technology, innovation and socially responsible approaches can foster a more sustainable future in the fashion industry. Tickets are $20 for general and $10 for students. https://innovations-textiles-la.eventbrite.com


Malvina Reynolds, I don’t mind failing 4.31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ60n_-BK6Q

Nina Samone, Ain’t got no, I got life 4.07  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jI9I03q8E

Phil Oachs love me I’m a liberal 4.40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw


Talk Labor with Frau Fiber episode 2

Episode 2 Dirty and Dangerous aired Wednesday Dec 14, 4-5 pm.  KChung program archive here  go to Dec 14, then Talk Labor with Frau Fiber. 



This episode featured Garment Workers Center Report on the Health and Saftey in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry.  View the report  dirtythreads  

Recorded live sewing was sponsored by the Sewing Rebellion –Stop Shopping and Start Sewing, to find a SR location near you go to http://Sewingrebellion.wordpress.com

I used a 1954 Singer 185 J – institutional green color, which was once used for home economics classes.  Donated by Kathleen Smith Los Angeles.

I made mitered corner finishing for napkins.  This technique can also be used for  table runners / table cloths. The benefit of mitering the corners is to reduce bulk, and create a flat seam.



























Pledge to Mend America

Pledge to Mend America

I pledge my life to mending America by being a watchful and vigilant community member; peacefully and firmly fighting racism, sexism, and oppression; crafting spaces where all people are welcome; to continue to create change through calls to actions, skill sharing, sewing, and mending; and to persistently persevere in spite of the seemingly futility of it all.

Frau Fiber
11 November 2016