“[..] the relationship between identity and clothing is not fixed and predetermined; instead, identities are constructed in a process of both choosing and wearing clothing. In this process, women are not considering their identities in an abstract sense nor philosophizing over ‘who I am’ through grandiose theory, but are defining their identities through specific items of clothing” (Woodward 2007: 13).
This is a quote by one of my favourite authors/scholars. I have also used it as general quote on top of my 'identity page' because I consider it a 'truth' in which I sincerely believe. View it as my personal religion. But, the way we define our identity with clothing depends on many things. For me, it depends on what I feel like when I get up in the morning. I consider the people I will meet and the locations I will visit. Furthermore, each piece of clothing that I own tells a story about who I used to be, who I am today and who I wish to be. My wardrobe could thus also be seen as my personal biography in material form. It does not only include the items I actively wear, it also consists of items I no longer wear. I save them because of the emotional value. It reminds me of a specific event or person. I cherish these memories in the pieces of clothing that I own in my wardrobe. Undoing myself from these pieces would also be an active undoing of the memory and thus a piece of my (clothing) identity.
To give an example of actively 'wearing' a certain (fashion) identity, I would like to refer to the Ndebele people. Originally from South Africa and Zimbabwe, their daily life is surrounded by beautifully colored, geometrical prints; in their clothing, jewelry, artifacts and in their architecture. These colorful cultural artifacts have been re-used (or copied) by many: Alexandre Herchcovitch
, Mara Hoffman
, Christian Louboutin
. Buying/wearing those items.. What does it say? What will it reveal? What would we wish to say?