by Tara Tosten, NYU ’14
During La Pietra Dialogues’ recent Green is the New Black: Recycled Clothing Workshop NYU Professor Jessamyn Hatcher asked students to remember an item of clothing they have had a special connection with. After all, your clothing has been through all of the events of your life and may have had a stronger impact on you than you have realized.
At first, the imprint clothing has made on your life may seem insignificant, after all it is just fabric used to cover yourself up. With the amount of clothing the average person owns, and the high consumption Americans partake in, each particular item may appear insignificant. Perhaps you enjoy shopping, and clothing signifies something enjoyable, a way to blow off steam or something to talk to your friends about. However, clothing has a much larger meaning than simply fashion. Not only do people own garments to look good, they own pieces that are simply for comfort. The fat pants for when the pint of Ben and Jerry’s was too good to resist. The jacket you wore for an entire year before you realized you looked ridiculous in it, yet still can’t seem to get rid of. If someone were to ask you to tell a story about one piece of clothing there is probably an item that would pop into your mind immediately.
For me, it was a red bathing suit. My dad bought it for me when I was four and I refused to take it off. For others it is their first sports jersey, a shirt from a friend, a safety blanket they would wear as a cape when they were younger. Clothing carries our stories, stains signify our mistakes or times of carelessness, rips show how well loved an item was, fabric absorbs our smells and takes the imprints of our bodies becoming not simply a piece of fabric but a representation of the wearer.