We wear them next to our skin, use them to create an impression as well as keep us warm and modest. In this way, clothes become part of our story. In November 2017, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) launched their crowdsourced project, Wearing Memories, to help tell this story of clothes. Over three hundred stories and photos from the public were shared with the museum. Now, FIT has launched a Tumblr page as a digital exhibition for the wider world to view.
Browsing through this online exhibition reveals stories of love, loss, creativity and nostalgia. From a hand-stitched dress that accompanied its wearer on the Santiago di Camino pilgrimage, to a jacket first worn in high school, these garments are tangible reminders of the journeys taken by their owners.
One woman told the story of, as a teenager, finding her grandmother's handmade quilt stashed away in a closet. Her grandmother had just passed away so she made a bolero vest out of pieces of the quilt. She described it as a "complement to what I considered to be subversively bohemian outfit — to wear to a white-glove society cotillion." The bolero jacket is jaunty, irregular and vibrant: clearly a treasure to its owner.
Another image, this time of a smiling woman in a ruana, talks of her link with her biological father and her heritage. The ruana is from Colombia and was a gift from her father, whom she never knew. "It is my history. Without it, I can only be half of myself. Today, a piece of Thomas sits in my closet, waiting to tell my story".
The Museum at FIT is one of a select group of specialised fashion museums, including the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda. The mission of the Museum is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, programs and publications. Their current exhibition, Fashion Unravelled, is on until 17 November 2018.
Blog post by Jessica Edney