While I find myself still debating how practical Faustine Steinmetz’s attempt at solving the growing distance between consumer and object, I did appreciate her brand’s dedication to ‘reconcile’ people’s relationship with their clothing.
Perhaps I have brought this up too many times before, but when presented with ‘handmade denim’ as their unique selling point, I can’t help but consider how perspectives from consumers who possess some sewing skills vary from those who do not. As applauded as it is to be publically acknowledged for having ‘style,’ part of that recognition comes from this notion of obtaining an inherent skill. In this manner, I feel that being able to denote what is quality (durable & fashionable) vs. what is trendy (impractical) bestows that same fashion capital in today’s society. No longer are thrift store aficionados ridiculed for buying other peoples so called trash, they are commended for being capable of envisioning a diamond in the rough and reinterpreting objects in an innovative way.
Over the weekend I attended an MAFS alum’s curatorial exhibit “She Was Asking For It: Getting Dressed After Sexual Assault” that aimed to create awareness through the display of survivors personal dress accompanied with text panels describing how their relationship to clothing has evolved. One of the testimonies stated that ever since she experienced sexual assault, she feels the need for all of her purchased garments to come embedded with a story of their own – regardless of whether that tale maybe be authentic or of her own invention – in order to overshadow her sartorial memories before the attack.
The idea of heirlooms and hand me downs have always been viewed as precious gifts, but often times their intrinsic status of privilege is left unacknowledged. I have grown up without wearing any of my mother’s/aunt’s/grandma’s clothing, because frankly they all wore their clothing out, repurposed them, or gave them away to others in greater need than themselves. This idea of preserving something that was yours by gifting it to someone else can seem to come off as a bit egotistical. In order to recreate the bond between our clothing and ourselves, I believe this notion of what and who is considered as ‘worth’ archiving is something scholars should explore further, as I intend to through the filed of fashion studies.