What if someone told you that for the next 12 months, the only clothes in your closet would be those made with your own two hands?
An artist from Vancouver challenged herself to just such a task, and discovered that clothing about more than just what you wear.
In September 2009, Natalie Purschwitz, an artist from Vancouver, British Columbia, took on the creative challenge of a lifetime by pledging make all her clothing (including shoes, socks, underwear, coats, hats, bathing suits and accessories) for an entire year.
Why would she embark on such a task? Purschwitz said she was “hoping to gain some understanding of the limitations of clothing and how they affect the development of ideology. Ultimately, I would like to examine the role of clothing as a form of cultural production.”
When it was all said and done, Purschwitz admitted that she could hardly remember what her old, store-bought wardrobe looked like. She also realized that, while she did long for shoes, socks and underwear without annoying seams, she had grown fond of the garments that she created herself.
“I do know that I don’t want to just rush out and buy a bunch of new stuff. And even though a part of me would like to put all of my makeshift clothes into a big heap and light it on fire, I’m not going to. Mostly because I will likely still be wearing it all.”
To take on the role of seamstress, shoemaker and a savvy designer is a huge challenge to which many of us would be unable to commit. The time and planning it takes to execute multiple outfits would probably limit most of us to the simplest of garments.
However, the biggest challenge of all would be to reject society’s standard on what clothing should be and look like. Not many of us can make pure individualistic choices for ourselves without the pressure of society’s norm, so to start from scratch based on your own personal creativity is a tough challenge to the mind.
The only boundaries and limitations one can set for themselves depends on how far they allow creativity to pursue. By choosing freely to making one’s own wardrobe is definitely a good start to defer our culture’s need to mass produce, and to choose carefully as to what we really need versus what we think we need.
See images of all 365 garments that emerged from the MakeShift project on Purschwitz’s blog.
Image via Sewing Daisies
I am just not sure about shoes. I don’t think I’m ready to make my own and hers didn’t look very comfortable. I can’t imagine just how much time it would take to make everything too.
I agree, shoes is definitely the hardest part.
As someone who has done everything from recreating costumes from film without patterns to reinventing old garments, I can honestly say, underpants are stupid to make. Sandals are an easy shoe, but beyond that you need cobbler tools to make anything worth wearing. A whole year of nothing but handmade? I could do normal garments, but underpants and shoes would make me insane. I’ve been considering only refreshing my wardrobe with handmade or refashioned items, but being a size 20 with broad shoulders and larger bra size makes creating my wardrobe almost necessary(if I don’t want to spend a fortune or reserve myself to frumpy crap.)