Fashion is often characterised as a representation of society, its ‘most precise reflection.’ Yet, specular reflections are optical illusions based on light and its energy. Standing in front of a mirror, we see not only a virtual image, but also a fundamentally distorted one. Underlying this metaphor seem to be two prevalent perceptions of fashion: that fashion communicates accurately and that what we wear is indicative of who we are. This reading of fashion implies that if fashion were a mirror of society and its members, the mirror can be read.
In the middle of my move, I pack boxes of things and throw other things away. So many things are thrown out. The opening up of closets, trunks, and boxes reminds me of the basement closet I hid in as a child, while my parents worked in the adjacent room painting cheap costume jewellery under fluorescent lights. The clothes smelled of mothballs and mildew, damp wool and old fur. Its rafters held my mother’s secret stash of cash and bills. The clothes in this closet — of dresses and jackets — were worn so long ago, pictured only in faded photos, worn on bodies before having children, when my mother was a different person, a young working woman in the city making money for only herself.