I wanted to create a place - an online exhibition - showcasing the scarves from my Oma (grandma in German) and the vintage clothes that I’ve collected throughout the years, or as I call all these items, my passed-down treasures. I wanted the context of the site to be about why we should keep things that are important to us and ask ourselves why? Who are the people in our lives that inspired us to love what we’re now passionate about? I wanted to make the audience question why it’s important to not throw out things that are passed down to us or that we collect, as those items have history, memories, and stories attached to them. Most of all, I wanted to emphasize how it’s important to try to find out the history behind the things that are important to us/things we are passionate about. I was inspired by Sara Berman’s closet exhibition from the MET and the Mmuseumm exhibits. They both set up lovely exhibits where you could instantly feel the positive sentiments of these objects displayed and just imagine the memories in these items that were left behind/collected all these years. Just as Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman say in the video of Sara Berman’s closet from the MET, there is a tenderness in creating your own life and owning a collection of things, and I think that’s the idea I’m trying to make in this exhibition as well; that there’s an ability to define your own identity through what you wear and collect. That it’s important to keep the attached memories alive.
I’ve always been interested in learning about the history behind the things that I’m passionate about. I think it’s an opportunity to discover so many creative ideas and it’s inspiring to look at how things were made in the past and think about how those designs can be used or changed differently in the future. Specifically, I have always been interested in the history of fashion and makeup, which I’ve made books about before, but a big part of why I love so many vintage items, from art to fashion, to makeup, etc. comes from my Oma. So I wanted to focus the interview questions about the clothes on her first and make her a big part of the exhibition. The audience can hear my Oma’s inferences about the clothes/scarves and listen to her stories and opinions as she recalls them and other memories that pop up from her past as they scroll throughout the exhibition. She is a big part of why I fell in love with the vintage fashions from back then as she took me and my sisters to so many museums and showed us classic old movies when we were growing up. So I ultimately fell in love with vintage items and additionally, collecting this type of vintage clothing from the ’50 - ’70s makes me feel closer to her and my other Grandma as well, since they might have worn these same types of clothes when they were the same age as I am now.
I wanted the exhibition to be a different kind of exhibition, where you can interact with it online and find out more information about the clothes through vintage shop owners and by listening to my Oma’s recordings about the clothes as you scroll horizontally through the exhibition. It scrolls horizontally as a metaphor for how a person would walk through an actual exhibition, walking horizontally throughout it rather than vertically which you can’t do in real life. I also used a lot of items from my Oma’s old house in the background design of the site. I used the spools of thread my great Oma left behind, and the windows and closet doors from my Oma and Opa’s old house, as well as vintage sewing patterns that were likely from when my Oma was a young woman. I want to show that collecting vintage clothes and wearing them, gives life back to a once cherished piece of clothing that otherwise would have been thrown out. It’s important to shop vintage not only for these sentimental reasons, but also for the environment, as the fashion industry is the second worst polluter on the earth. Overall, I enjoyed making this exhibition and I hope that someone else will enjoy viewing it as well.