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Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

by Joshua Sailo

by Victoria Rainbolt

Devika Jajoo

Posted on 08 June 2016

Remember the butterflies that you got looking at that garment from middle school that has so many memories attached to it? And why couldn’t you throw it away, even after all these years?

Each of us owns at least one garment that has remained in our possession for several years. And somehow these garments trigger deep emotional responses in us, which we savor over and over again whenever we look at, touch, smell or wear them.

What we wear helps us to reflect who we are as individuals while connecting us to others and creating memories. It provides a sense of both individuality and belonging. After all, it is something we “live in” everyday.

The issue with mass fashion is that our value system has moved away from creating a sense of identity to a ready-to-go mentality. We have lost that emotional connection we used to have with that one pair of jeans that got torn falling down while laughing too hard. Now we’d just throw the torn pair away and pick up a new one.

Unfortunately fashion, by its very nature, is about obsolescence. We look disapprovingly at anyone wearing last season’s boots.

Digging deeper into the issue shows that the limited presence of meaning and empathy in so many commodity fashion products combined with their low prices is a key factor in their being discarded long before they are worn out. The discarded product is an indicator of a failed relationship between the product and the wearer.

It is not that this relationship does not exist. Designing to allow for these emotional connections to be present in or evolve into an article of clothing starts to open up new and yet familiar capacities for design—new because they feel so alien to the current commercial practice, and familiar because they touch on basic human sensibilities that we hold dear nonetheless.

Since style is ultimately about self-expression, sustainable fashion is increasingly the place to find it. It’s all about the joy of dressing up, discovering new fabrics, dyeing your own, and simply being more resourceful.

Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things.

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