A (Fashion) Love Story
Posted on April 11 2019
A true love story isn't all romance and butterflies and magic. True love is time and effort. True love is caring. True love endures. Let me tell you a fashion love story.
I've owned some pretty quirky clothing in my life. There was the 70's era camel-colored faux-fur-collared belted coat I bought at my local thrift store that had a surprisingly awesome selection of vintage clothing. Or the splatter paint t-shirt I made in elementary school that I found and wore again during my college years because I realized it magically still fit and brought back nostalgia for an age of over-the-top color and boldness of the 80's. I made no qualms of wearing your cast-off ringer tees featuring bible camp logos. Or your Boy Scouts of America uniforms (more accurately just the shirts). Or the noisy printed polyester dresses from the 60's. Anything was game, so long as it kept me from buying the same thing every other teenager was buying at the mall.
My closet is full of stories, but one item of profound love is a weathered old blue t-shirt with the word 'Wisconsin' and the number '83' printed on it in cracked white paint. I stole this shirt from my mother (sorry I never gave it back to you, mom!) who acquired it when she attended college in the late 70's. Word has it my dad was known to wear it back in the day, too. (Picture shared without permission. Sorry bro.)
How I came to own it is sort of beyond me - my best guess is I liked the look of it and quietly assimilated it into my wardrobe in the middle of the night. Either that or I was allowed to keep it because I also attended the same college for a long weekend before I panicked and decided the town was just too small for me and I couldn't see myself spending a long winter there without my car and my friends and anything that even slightly resembled a city within bussing distance.
This old reliable has moved with me exactly 14 times. Many holes have appeared and I don't mind. It gives my beloved t-shirt character. And I only wear it around my home anyways. Wearing this shirt in your presence means "I've officially stopped trying to impress you." In the best way possible. There's something about it that reminds me of my mother's hopes and dreams, what she and my father sacrificed to have 3 kids and a home and a long-lasting marriage of love and hard work and compromise. To me, this shirt represents the physical manifestation of familial love.
My well-worn shirt is over 4 decades old. That is a good long life for a t-shirt. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we ALL had love stories about every article of clothing we owned? If we really considered the time, effort, and resources that went into every item we come in contact with? If we imagined each and every single person who contributed to the final product?
Next week - April 22 to the 28 - is Fashion Revolution Week, which marks the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh where 1,134 people died and another 2,500 people were injured. It is considered the deadliest garment factory accident in history. Take some time next week and ask your favorite clothing brands, "Who Made My Clothes?" And if you are so compelled, write your own fashion love story. Fashion Revolution will be sharing their favorite love stories all week long.
Style Manager, Fair Indigo