I am, for lack of a better word, materialistic. I get ecstatic about new, ridiculous things to decorate my room with, thrift shopping is my favourite activity by far, and I get irrationally sentimental about things if they are connected to lovely memories and people I cherish. Striving for absolvement from the physical world and rising above material possession are noble endeavours indeed, and over-production surely plagues our sorry planet, but there is something deeply human about the way we assign emotional value to inanimate objects and, for better or worse, it is a large part of our culture.
So, I thought about the things that I own that don´t just make me go “neat, a pretty thing!” but help me reflect on my emotions or remind me of times I covet, and I asked my friends to do the same.
“Despite being a relatively sentimental person, I don’t really own a lot of clothing with feelings behind them – I couldn’t say where most of my wardrobe has come from. However, this pin-badge, made by one of my best friends, really sticks out for me. It was a gift that really wasn’t expected, and I cherish it so much. I don’t own many handmade things from friends, so it’s incredibly unique to me. Which is funny really, because that fact also worries me about wearing it sometimes, I don’t want it to come under damage or get knocked about, but then again, it’s made to be worn. It’s a nice reminder that there’s some really, really cool friends out there. “
“I am not one to be too sentimental, especially considering clothes. But there is this one hat, that will always have a special place in my heart. It was my grandfather’s gift to me for my 10th birthday. It was just an ordinary old fashioned hat. Nothing about struck me as special, apart from the fact that it was definitely not the latest fashion trend.
That was changed immediately after I was shown several photos, depicting the very same hat being worn by both my grandfather and my great grandfather on multiple special occasions. I was even told a few stories about the hat being present on basically every pivotal moment in both our family and nation’s history.
I never really wore the hat, mostly because I was afraid of damaging it, but it still, nevertheless has a place of honour in my room back in the Czech republic. And hopefully one day, maybe I can give it to my kids as well. Just with the slight addition of me looking absolutely ridiculous, wearing the same hat in my wedding photos.”
“This is probably one of the only pieces of clothing that has real sentimental value to me. It was my mom´s until I stole it from here because I really liked the casual vintage look it had. It´s from a restaurant on the pier at Dana Point, California, near to where my mom grew up. We always used to take walks and count all the little crabs we could see. It sounds silly, but I hope I don´t get a stain on it and ruin it because I am passing this down to my children, whether they like it or not. I remember my mom alwas wearing it when we were little. Now when I wear it, she just shakes her head and says “I don´t know why you like that thing so much, it´s really old.” Next thing you know I´ll be stealing her blue eyeliner and leg warmers…”
“I really do love my rucksack. Even though I like to think of myself as quite stylish, it is one of those practical all-duty backpacks and it never really goes with anything I wear. I pride myself on how I equipped it with everything I could possibly need on a trip through the mountains or a night out with friends. From a toolkit to zipties to some snacks and a lighter; it has it all. I never go anywhere without it.”
“I have this delicate gold necklace with a small boxing glove as a pendant. It was a gift from my father and his sister to their father, my grandfather. When he was younger, he used to box and he had been a life-long boxing fan. When he died, the necklace went back into my father´s possession. It wasn´t until years after that that I started wearing the necklace. I thought it was sad that no one else was wearing it, and despite me never having been close to my grandfather, I now think of him each time I wear it. Family is a weird thing to grapple with so I´m glad I have something physical to relate to.”