The Lessening: the form follows function garments

I have dedicated the last year in my 40′s to cleaning house, or to “the lessening”.  I am embarking on a year of only wearing a select amount of clothes (50 garments) from my closet.  My hope is that I realize along the way that this is all I really need and more importantly want.

To elevate this project from a normal purge into a more meaningful and creative exercise worthy of a title, the pieces chosen reflect many aspects present in my past artwork; form following function, wabi-sabi, locally gathered/ scavenged, neutral palette, natural forms & materials.

The form of these garments sprung from a particular function and place in history. A garment’s rich back story adds meaning to your wardrobe and tethers you to the history and culture of dressing.

Some historical pieces designed for a specific function are the Breton Stripe sailor tee, which was originally designed to make it easier to find sailors who fell overboard. The Crackerjack sailor pants have wide legs enabling a sailor to easily roll up the pant for swabbing the deck and for easy removal if they fell overboard, which with the original 5 button (as opposed to the current 13) front panel seems a little more believable. The Aran Cardigan is made from lanolin rich local wools to wick water from the sweaters surface. It is debated as to whether the actual stylized stitches denoted particular regions, but they do in fact have particular meanings, such as a basket weave being good luck for a large catch, rope shapes denoting the tools of the trade, and crosses to invoke the divine protection.

New pieces with specific functions are the Yojhi Yamamoto tank, which has a zipper in the bottom hem for use as a lightweight tote as well as a tank when unzipped. The 6397 Sweater can be worn two ways; arms through sleeves or put arms through holes at armpit if one gets overheated. The cozy NAU down coat easily layers over other garments due to it’s shape and size and construction. These design details add multi-usability to the garment as well as a connection to the designer’s creative process, which makes for a richer experience wearing them.