One assignment that could be turned into a take home assignment was Love Letter to a Textile. We often have intimate relationships with our clothing whether we realize it or not. This is all wrapped up in the concept of material culture--how humans consume, use, develop and dispose of objects. Material culture was one of my favourite classes at ACAD/AUArts. It was endlessly fascinating! Once you know about it, you see it in action everywhere.
We see this affection at work when we can't get rid of a child's clothing, hang on to a favourite stuffed animal or wear an article until it can't be mended. We form relationships about how we look, how objects make us feel, reliability and more with clothing (and other objects too!). We would bring in the article, read the letter and have both on display for this assignment.
It was difficult to pick a garment. This assignment would have been a piece of cake at other points in my life. For example, I had a nightshirt that I loved loved as a child because it had a raccoon with glow in the dark eyes on it. When I was a teenager, I loved loved a pair of embroidered jeans. When I was a young adult, I loved loved my flannel sweaters. When I was in my 30s, I loved loved a plaid purple top with big buttons. When I was in my early 40s, I loved loved a smoky purple Coach scarf.
There aren't any garments today where I could say I love love them. I don't know if it's because every day is casual day at my workplace or a matter of middle-age, but all my clothing seems simply functional now.
I decided to go with my oldest piece of clothing that I own--my denim capris. However, I still found it difficult to hit the 500 word mark. Ah well...here we go...
Dear denim capris,
I can't believe we’ve been together longer than I have been married. I remember the first time I saw you at Tabi—it must have been at least twenty years ago—and I was thrilled to find petite denim capris. Petite and plus size? Oh yeah, we were going home together right then and there. It's true you broke the rule of having no pockets on the butt, but that didn't matter. You were perfect enough. In fact, you were absolutely perfect! Nowadays you’re a little faded, but I’m pretty sure you were a robust dark blue. I always preferred dark blue denim.
We have had so many great adventures over the years. We road tripped to Las Vegas twice, flew to Seattle and cruised to Bermuda just to name a few places. Whenever the occasion called for comfortable and casual, you were always there. That is why I loved shopping at Tabi. I knew I could find reliable clothes that looked good, fit well and had a great price. I miss Tabi a lot. I miss shopping there with Mom on weekends, buying fun socks or assembling a look. You remind me of those every day, small moments that were good times too. Maybe you were mass made in a Singapore garment factory, but you are still a unique individual to me!
Denim capris, I thought we would have to part after I lost 40 lbs. You were practically falling off my hips and not very fashionable anymore. You were too worn to thrift yet still too good to throw out. But, then I discovered that you were still functional! You are a perfect fit for winter birdwatching. None of my other jeans will fit over leggings and sweats.
Maybe we don't go out together as much anymore, but you're still perfect to wear around the house. Your colour may be a little faded and your style out of date, but I can still count on you for comfort and covering. And, somehow you don't have any holes anywhere after twenty years of washing and drying. You're a good friend, denim capris! Here’s to another five, ten, maybe twenty years?