Collections: It’s All About Us
A Tuesday night in 1998. Mom was wearing yellow, a delicate fabric covering her belly. Dad was wearing a neat blue shirt. My sister was in pink. I didn’t know what to wear yet. The hospital was dressing newborns in a tough and dry green and white material.
A scream, it was me coming out to the world. They gave me a gender, a name, and put some garments on my body. I was dressed in light green, blue, and white. I was covered by a warm blanket longer than my body, bulky enough to leave only my face on view. I felt like the fanciest baby ever born. The frill around it, the tail was falling from my mom’s arm while she managed to hold a precious baby. The stylish head covering was remarkable. As if the blanket was not enough, I received a collection of tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, and socks, all designed to accommodate the small body of a newborn.
Until I was seven I wore mixed colorful styles. Sometimes pink because pink was for girls. A yellow t-shirt, red shorts, purple flip-flops to stay at home. A vibrant orange backpack was for school and a soft, salmon dress with embroidered flowers to go to church.
But the messy, overly colorful outfits did not last long. Twelve. I was twelve and appearance started to hold weight among teens. Pink was still one of the main colors in my wardrobe. I disliked pink. I even owned pink accessories and fur purses. “Oh my…”, my old self would say. But I had to keep it simple: girls wore pink dresses; boys wore blue t-shirts.
Fourteen. Which clothes would match my blue hair? Then the pink, and then the purple? I became more aware of what would fit and what would not. Clothes and hair should be one. It was a composition at the end of the day, and I was the canvas.
Hello black! Sixteen. My dad started calling me Darth Vader because of my outfits. Black, gray, and dark tones of red. My seven-year-old version would disapprove this. Where is the color? Where is the vibrancy? Aren’t you bored of black? The truth is that having a “Darth Vader collection” was a striking change and led me to explore more of who I was through my clothing.
The end of my teens was the start of a new collection: “take me on an adventure”. Peaceful, casual, hippie, and mystic. A combination that was interconnected with nature and leaning towards simplicity. Oh, and the handmade jewelry! Stones, crystals, wax threads, shells, and any other natural element that could be reshaped or inlayed. I made and collected several bracelets, necklaces, and anklets and they inhabited my body daily. It was part of me; it was my self-expression after all.
The adventure never ended. Colors came back, to the delight of my seven years old self, and the black stayed, because black became a rule; it was always present.
Twenties. Mom wears a nice yellow long sleeve blouse. Dad wears a blue and gray striped t-shirt, and my sister wears a flowered blue and purple dress. Now I know what to wear. My collection follows my constant metamorphosis. Pieces of fabric wrap around my body to introduce myself to the world. Always in change. The person who learned how to incorporate all selves into one. The Darth Vader that wears crystals; the colorful child who still dyes her hair; the fanciest newborn who prefers simplicity. The vibrant, the neutral, the dark, the light. Mustard sometimes, burgundy, reds, blues from royal to turquoise, purple, a few greens, a bit of white, and black most of the time.
How do garments speak for us? Why is dressing a form of communication? Why are our collections rooted in our lives? Maybe it is time to ask, “what is your current-self dressing today?” You might see the extraordinary, once unnoticed, metamorphosis of you. I hope you find your collection. Until then, the adventure continues.