People often think I like to shop. People often think I love clothing. I get it, I went to fashion design school, I still stay up to date with fashion week and highly judge and critique each show I see, but, I don't love fashion. What I love is the clothing in my closet.
Every garment in my wardrobe is a memory, a capsule that holds emotional ties to other people in my life, big transitions and changes that have happened to me and are incredibly close to my heart. I am a horribly sentimental person.
For example, I have a sweater in my closet that was my moms from college, my sister wore it before me and I am the third wearer of this beloved wool, hooded sweater. I recently looked at the thinning elbows and decided that this garment deserved a little TLC. I pulled fabric from my scrap bin to make elbow pads and the first thing my hand touched was hand woven fabric from my Hattersley loom. The warp was wool I had bought in London when I was trained on the loom and the weft was woven using local wool from Northern Minnesota, this combo of natural tones fit perfectly with the natural wool in the sweater. As I felted on the wool elbow patches, I reflected on the stories of this one garment. The multiple lives it has lived, being worn by three women in the same family and how each of us have styled and worn this garment differently.
The first day I wore the sweater after the new mend my mom instantly started spilling stories from back when she wore it. One story that I had not heard was that my grandparents had bought the sweater for my mom when she and my dad first started dating. They had visited a woolen mills and wanted to purchase a gift for her and asked her to pick out whatever she wanted. Being the sentimental lush that I am, this one sweater instantly increased in personal value knowing that another generation was tied to this simple wool garment.
This sweater will never go in the Goodwill pile or any trading swap exchanges with friends. As long as I can maintain this sweater it will stay in my closet, because I am in LOVE with this sweater and what it means to me.
Clothing is often seen as a static object, it is just something physical that does not relate to any other existence but the context that we make for it. This has not been my experience.
Our clothing goes through the same movements, moments and experiences we do. With every wear our clothing accumulates our personal narrative. Clothing is worn and torn in places unique only to the wearer, unique only to you. There is no one else that has your exact body type, your personal lifestyle or your ways of moving within the world, thus no one else wears clothing like you.
Just like how our family, closest friends and significant other witnesses our lives, our clothing also witnesses and carries our life story in physical form, in fabric. This is why I love clothing. It is beyond personal. Not only is it physically the closest thing to us, but it is an emotional expression, and personal life diary of how we live.
You don't have to love fashion. You don't have to love shopping. But, it doesn't hurt to love your clothes.