Returns is an interdisciplinary collaborative experiment investigating the materials, rhythms and choreographies of the mainstream fashion industry. This project uses the widespread 30-day retail return policy as the framework for a month-long inquiry: garments of all kinds are purchased and brought to the studio where they are very carefully taken apart. For one month, garment materials are set in constant motion, becoming an ever-shifting landscape of new clothing constellations and sculptural forms. At the end of the 30-day period, all garments are meticulously reconstructed back into their original forms and returned to stores for a full refund. 

With its first iteration in 2019, Returns has evolved from a solo inquiry into a dynamic interdisciplinary collaborative practice. Developed with collaborators from the fields of dance, somatics, choreography, costume, sound and sculpture, Returns was most recently adapted into a 30-day installation performance, co-presented by The Dance Centre and the PuSh Festival (Vancouver) in January 2024.

For this iteration, Gossen worked alongside performance collaborators, tone puorro, Erika Mitsuhashi and Jaewoo Kang. For 30 days, performers used their bodies to unearth the quiet, everyday choreographies of textile labour, supply chains, retail systems, and consumer exchange. At the same time, they drew on visual references from across time and space, using the fast fashion garments to recreate and recontextualize moments of fashion history.

Concept and Direction: Nellie Gossen / Performers: Nellie Gossen, Erika Mitsuhashi, Jaewoo Kang and tone puorro / Choreographic Mentorship: Emmalena Fredriksson / Sound Design: Nancy Tam / Production Manager & Technical Director: Paula Viitanen Aldazosa / Stage Manager: Sierra Megas / Garment Photography: Luciana Freire D'Anunciação / Artistic Support: Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes / Front of House: Ali Bosley & Shamina Senaratne

Garments purchased on January 6th, 2024

January 7th Historical Reference: Queen Elizabeth I

January 11th Historical Reference: 17th Century Joseon Princess

January 28th
Contemporary Reference: Alexander McQueen

January 16th Free Form Collaborative Outfit

February 1st Free Form Collaborative Outfit

Reconstructed garments, sucessfully returned on February 4th, 2024