No. 4: Wearers
On the complex relationship with our clothes, the sensory experience they offer and the ways clothes shape our life, this issue explores the intimacies between people, bodies and what they wear.
Welcome to Issue No. 4 of Fashion Foreword!
For this issue, we collaborated with Wearers Festival to offer you a newsletter packed with all things wearers. We pick, handle and wear clothes every day, and experience them through touch, smell, and sound. How we wear clothes, why we wear them, and why we sometimes let them go are equally as worthy of attention as the way they look. Our clothes can be a layer of protection, a confidence-booster, a fond memory, or a sense of security. They can be a soft hug, a comfortable sole, or an itchy layer. Nevertheless, they make us all wearers. Thus, for this issue we are putting the focus on the intimate and personal relationships we have with our clothes.
In many ways, 2021 was ‘the year of the wearer’, not least because of Wearers Festival and Netflix’s Worn Stories series. This interest in wearers is not new: the what, why and how of wearing clothes has been an upcoming topic in popular culture over the past few years. Nora Veerman traces this development and seeks to find answers to the question of why this heightened interest in wearing clothes is happening now.
What we wear is so much more than the clothes on our bodies. Our clothes witness our successes and our failures, they can be friends or foes. They can also be the recipient of a letter. For Issue No. 4, Wearers Festival co-founders, Nessa Recine and Nao Zaragoza, dedicate letters to their beloved garments. Delving into the ways our clothing habits change when we move places, they find themselves between new acquaintances and fond farewells. Nessa, having moved from Canada to England, remembers her stilettos and explains why she said goodbye. Nao writes a letter to her trench coat, the very first item she bought after arriving in London, and shares why it makes her feel at home.
For this issue’s review, Eanna Morrison Barrs reflects upon the Wearers Festival book club session on Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox. For most of her professional life, Claire Wilcox has worked at the V&A as a fashion curator. In Patch Work, she stitches together the story of her life through the clothes, and we invite you to do the same.
With the focus on the wearer comes a focus on fashion beyond the visual. Particularly, the ways clothes can make us feel, from their smell to their touch and sound. Jip Mulder discusses the multi-sensory experiences and realities of wearing clothes and how that can shape our relationship with our garments. Be aware: her musings might change the way you think – or rather feel – about your clothes.
If you want to delve even more into the stories on wearing clothes, Judith Beyer has composed a selection of resources and recommendations on the topic for you to watch, try, visit, and listen to. From the memories of vintage pieces to the way they shape our life, the list encompasses a variety of stories. However, we know there are many more and would love to hear yours!
Until then, happy reading!
Judith, Eanna, Jip, and Nora
The Fashion Foreword Team
The Year of the Wearer
Books, series, even a festival: attention for the practice of wearing clothes is growing. Nora Veerman traces this development and wonders: why now?
By Nora Veerman
Trench Coat Therapy
Guest writer Nao Zaragoza from Wearers Festival writes a letter to her trench coat and tells the story of how it became her coat of armour.
By Nao Zaragoza
It’s Not You, It’s Me: A Bittersweet Farewell to my Stilettos
Guest writer Nessa Recine from Wearers Festival writes a letter to her beloved heels and explains why she said goodbye.
By Nessa Recine
A Life Amongst Clothes
Eanna Morrison Barrs joins the Wearers Festival bookclub to discuss their latest pick, 'Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes' by Claire Wilcox.
By Eanna Morrison Barrs
Dimensions of Dress: the Sensorial Aspects of Wearing
The way our clothes feel, smell and even sound plays a significant part in the wearing experience. Let’s have a closer look at that familiar everyday activity that exceeds the visual.
By Jip Mulder
Footnotes on Wearers
Want to dive further into the theme? We’ve gathered a variety of resources on the topic of wearers, from conversations on stilettos to podcasts on the stories behind your vintage finds.
By Judith Beyer
Have you ever moved to a new place and suddenly found yourself with the urge to change your wardrobe completely? Join us on 17 November at 20:30 CET for Afterword x Wearers Festival: Moving Places, Changing Clothes – On Dress and Migration to discuss the intricacies of changing your environment and the effect it has on our dressing behaviour.