Hair Shirt



Man's coat (German) size 56


Insurance value 1,500 Euros

Since 2010, Tanya Ury has been working on the research project Who’s Boss – Empire’s New Clothes, as PhD. in Humanities candidate at Leiden University, Institute for Cultural Disciplines (NL)


An article of clothing made of small plastic bags sewn together; each bag (90mm x 115mm) contains a date label and sample of the artist's hair from 1998-99. It is fashioned after a leather Luftwaffe coat design and bears similarities to the Hugo Boss leather coat, winter fashion 1998-99.



Since November 1992, I have been collecting my hair, from natural hair loss daily, and saving it in small plastic sachets (90mm x 115mm), with a handwritten date label. Previously, some of these bags were sewn together by me, to make large plastic sheets resembling “shower curtains”, one curtain each year, for the installation Golden Showers 1993-99. Who's Boss: Hair Shirt is made from plastic bags with hair from Ury's collection. It is an unlikely and unpractical article of clothing - something between being a shower curtain and the contents of a mattress (under Hitler's dictatorship, the Nazis collected shorn hair of women concentration camp inmates to be used for mattress stuffing). It is also a German Luftwaffe coat prototype that bears a resemblance to the Hugo Boss 1998-99 winter fashion model, or it is literally, a hair shirt (word-play in English, for 'hair shirt' is the demonstration of atonement).

The fact that one of the world's most renowned fashion houses Hugo Boss owes its initial success to its support of the Fascist war machine, and its exploitation of forced labourers during the war years, raises profound questions surrounding the relationships between fashion and military fashion, fashion and politics.

A Hair Shirt Army has been produced out of the remaining plastic bags with hair from Ury's collection.

<span class="year">2004</span> Photo Documentation: Tanya Ury