Recycle Runway Blog

Caution: Crime Scene Published: 12.08.2011 at 4:36 pm by Nancy Judd

Nancy wearing the Caution Dress during her TED talk

Over a year ago I asked my cousin, Grant, and my friend, Michele, who are both police officers, if they would save “police tape” from crime scenes for me. Within about 6 months I received big tangles of yellow tape, some with stories I did not want hear. I also began gathering “caution tape” from less dramatic locations on the side of the road. A big pile of bright yellow plastic sat in my studio like a bunch of spaghetti for another year before two perfect dresses presented themselves to me.

The first was The Caution Dress. I was scheduled to give a TED talk in Albuquerque, and needed something memorable to wear. Because of the message of my talk, buying a new outfit was definitely out of the question! What should someone who designs clothing from trash wear when she is being asked to talk about what she does?Well, something made from garbage seemed pretty obvious! Further, I wanted my visual image to be a quick summary of my talk regarding my concerns about the effects that humans are having on the earth. A dress made from caution tape seemed like the obvious answer! View my TED talk and read my blog post about the experience here.

Crime Scene

The second dress, it is called Crime Scene. It is made from police tape that reads: “Crime Scene Do Not Enter”.  At first I thought it would be an edgy and fun garment, but soon I realized that this piece is very serious… for me it’s the most provocative work of art that I have ever created. It is about many forms and levels of violence: It is about sexual abuse. It is about the destructive effects of the fashion industry on the people who grow, sew and model clothing as well as those of us who are made to feel inadequate in numerous ways so as to “feed” the industry with consumers. It is about the destruction we have done to the body of mother earth. It is about the over 200 toxic chemicals deposited in each of our bodies from our poisoning of the earth.

No, this did not end up being a fun dress. But like many of my pieces it is deceptive. From afar people may find it to be an appealing design, and only upon closer inspection will they discover some of the deeper meanings.

Crime Scene, The Caution Dress and Eco-Flamenco, which I made this fall in Grand Rapids, will join the rest of my 18 garments on exhibit in the Atlanta Airport (International Concourse E) in about 2 weeks. They will be showcased through May of 2012 in a new case that the Airport has just built in the entrance to the concourse, at the top of the escalator.

As the year comes to a close I want to thank all of you who have supported me in many ways as I installed my exhibition in the Atlanta Airport, presented my TED talk, created new garments in Evanston, IL and Grand Rapids (Eco-Flamenco), and gave numerous workshops around the country. It was a busy year, and I could not have done it without the help and support of so many of you! I look forward to an equally, exciting year in 2012! Stay tuned….

Crime Scene photographed by Jay Studevant.

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8 responses to “Caution: Crime Scene”

  1. What a powerful piece Nancy. I am glad you wrote about the meaning behind the colorful and seductive form. I would have passed the content/ intent right on by, only “seeing” the artfully designed trashion fashion.

    This 2nd gown has rich meaning that I fully understand and have experienced on many levels…in fact all the levels you describe, including cancer, and child abuse survivor. Thank you for pointing out an incredibly important message …which lies behind such a beautiful gown.

  2. Kim Davison says:

    Great work, Nancy! And best wishes for an exciting 2012 to you, too.

  3. Marilyn Jacobs says:

    Wow! Nancy– you should be on one of the big “talk shows” to bring even more attention to your work. It blows me away! Maybe I just have to make sure to let these people know. Would you object to that?

  4. LYNNE ROBERTS says:

    Your messages are so very important…Your work is fantastic!
    You have an amazing ability to create beauty, “fashion,” “style,”
    political and ethical content from…yikes…garbage!!

    I just attended my first Recycle Runway show and vendor sale
    last month in Santa Fe. I was amazed at what vision, creativity, and
    collaboration can produce!

    Congratulations on your exhibit in the Atlanta Airport.

    I look forward to your next projects/workshops.


    Lynne Roberts

  5. Carol Dayton says:

    It has been great fun participating in a small way in your large educational project. Also the designs are stupendous !! Am very interested to see what ideas generate from India !

  6. Moe Sherman says:

    Your creations continue to amaze me!

  7. Nancy Judd says:

    Thank you all for your kind words of support and encouragement!

  8. Karylle Lips says:

    Very fashionable seductive form of dress! I do fashion clothes too but It never comes to my mind to use this kind of resources. I’m impressed!

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