The Fashion Issue
Not too long after we decided to dedicate an issue to exploring our relationship with clothes, a book crossed our path that seemed to encapsulate much of our thinking on the subject, while also challenging many of our core assumptions. Worn Stories by Emily Spivack is a collection of some 60 odd, clothing-inspired narratives from an array of cultural figures and storytellers that testify to the incredible role clothes can play in our lives. When reading the book in the context of the damaging effects of fast fashion and its eco-friendly alternatives, we noticed ourselves thinking a lot less about the clothes we ought to consume and much more about the relationship we ought to have with our clothing. The book has sage advice for our times: Stop your shopping spree, slow down, and learn to develop real relationships with the clothing you wear. We here at GOOD are clearly not the first to wonder whether fashion might be following the way of the slow food movement, but reading Worn Stories, we found a bold and prophetic path that could lead us in that direction.
We were tickled silly when Spivack agreed to guest edit GOOD’s first-ever fashion issue. She set the tone for the issue by inviting a group of her friends in and around the fashion industry to speculate about the murky future of fashion in our second GOOD Dinnertime Conversation.
Spivack also conceived of a fashion story that aims to turn the sweat on our clothing into a badge of honor instead of a mark of shame (“The Human Stain”).
And shame might also come to mind when you think of the ankle monitor, but Rob Walker traces the counter-history buried within the punitive technology and wonders whether it might increasingly be used as a force for good (“When Bleeding Edge has a Bleeding Heart”).
Allen Salkin also turns to history, revisiting the paper clothing trend of the 1960s and hypothesizing that the solution to fast fashion might lie in an even faster form of fashion (“Who Killed Paper Clothing?”).
In new fiction by Aimee Bender, we enter a vintage store where clothing has the power to communicate so much more than style, a place where William Blake might have seen a world in a button (“The Memory Store”).
We hope that our cover story, a conversation between transgender icons Zackary Drucker and Hari Nef (“As We Are”), functions as a rejoinder to an issue devoted to exploring who we are and what we wear. After all, who we really are depends on what’s within.