Wardrobe Curation as a Form of Self-Expression

April 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

CraftCvltvre is a very personal project that originates from my perpetual search for meaningfulness in my life and work. So I’m going to turn inward for a bit and talk about what it means to me to own and wear clothing and other objects from independent handcrafters who share a similar aesthetic to me. Expect a few more of these kinds of blog posts throughout the rest of the month.

For being such a big fan of the handmade, I’m not a very crafty person myself (though maybe that will change someday). My self-expression in physical form comes from more of a curatorial angle. I surround myself with things other people have made, creating a “scrapbook” of sorts that draws inspiration from many different sources to articulate who I am in a tangible way.

To be sure, curation is a lower form of self-expression than actually making something from scratch. Yes, this establishes a hierarchy, but I think it’s only fair when you consider the amount of labor and creative energy that goes into something handmade. As Richard Sennett wrote in The Craftsman, developing the skill to make things by hand takes a lot of time and repeated practice. It’s a lot more difficult than shopping to develop a personal style.

I have what are probably some pretty weird habits when it comes to buying things. I’m extremely selective about what I keep around, especially if it’s something that has a permanent presence and doesn’t eventually get used up/run out (in other words, I’m more careful about buying socks than soap). I also tend to get really attached to inanimate objects, especially if they’re something I can carry around – and when it comes to fashion, that’s literally on my body.

So I may be a conspicuous consumer, purchasing clothes to wear as a performance of identity, but I’d like to believe that I’m also a conscientious consumer. I don’t buy clothes expecting to only wear them for a season, I buy them to treasure for a long time. And I admire people who handcraft garments and other decorative objects that are meant for that purpose.

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