Zheng Lu


Autonomy + action + sustainability = useless wear 

Competitiveness+ instrumental rationality + desire = wear 

-wear:have something on one’s body as clothing, decoration, or protection. 

-wear is not a product or a collection of specific garments.  

Useless wear keeps itself away from causal wear, suits and uniforms. 

USELESS wear is an approach to achieve a living aesthetics of low material desire and high life experience - reducing the pressure and anxiety in marketisation and monetization today. 

USELESS wear is a frame where participants connect each other with community and explore their identities in ‘useless culture’. Everyone is empowered to create their own value and region. Useless wear does not deny the meaning of commodities, but to transform or reset to a new recognizable and traceable meaning. 

USELESS wear is a system, standing on the opposite side of utilitarianism and instrumental rationality and it is not expected to achieve a desired end or outcome. Fighting against the profit-based and efficiency-oriented working system. With a decommodification perspective to examine fashion system, questioning fashion fundamentally benefits which group of people and from which class. 

USELESS wear is a weapon, armed by participants to resist the hegemony of neoliberalism. Calling for an environment without competitiveness and filled with rich living resources. 

USELESS wear is a new luxury, which can neither offer participants a practical promise nor better realistic life in circumstance of NOW HIGHLY COMPETITVE SOCIETY.  



Degree Details

School of Design

In the era of automation, what is human labor? What is productivity? Are you tired of overtime work? Of being exploited? Is your balance of life and work destroyed? In an era that promotes sustainability, our bodies also need to be sustained! In my project, I have explored the synchronization of human labor and machinery, from repetitive and mechanized interactions to assembled bodies and meaningless gestures. By way of a ‘uselessness as a resistance’ strategy, I’ve made every mechanism useless.Reducing the functionality of labor and calling for a combination of low-tech and high-life.  

Through full automation, we enter the post-work world where people are free to create. If we don’t need to work in the future, do we still need workwear? Even if this is utopian thinking for now, in preparation for that age, we need to call for reduced hours and a more flexible working world, and simultaneously stand on the opposite of the capital’s fashion narratives, suggesting an open-source, copyleft, cooperative fashion community.  

A letter to Future – “Sorry, I’m off duty.”  

An automata chair with an assembled jacket — Machinery in Body. We use machines and simultaneously machines use us.

An automata chair with an assembled jacket


labor, plywoods, stainless steel



A labourer sitting on a machine

A letter to Future – “Sorry, I’m off duty.”


plywoods, stainless steel, sink

The human labor/machinery/behaviour

The relationship between labor and machinery. Beating the ball through a mechanical process rather than wave golf clubs directly. It is not a direct labor and unable to achieve a desired outcome.


labor and mix media

The mechanical body — Every element and material used can be seen.

How to assemble body


Plywoods, stainless steel

The replaceable attachments

The armhole attachments can be changed.
No button and zipper used in my practices.


Plywoods, stainless steel

The selfie machine — Shooting during lockdown

Shooting during lockdown


mix media, cardboard, water, labor

The corporal sustainability — Model: Bao Zheng

The New Luxury - The corporal sustainability - Suggesting a reduced work-time system and calling for work-life balance in automated age. Allowing us to reproduce our energy and create our own living.


labor, time

A video introducing all useless objects. — Model: Yudai

Useless mechanism applied to daily objects.
Including One-coin hand bag, One-USB tote bag, Happy birthday bag and so on
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