Karen Wornette

She travelled across the country to finish her practicum here with us

I’ve spent the past four years of my life immersed in the Human Ecology degree program at the University of Alberta. As a Clothing, Textiles, and Material Culture major, I’ve taken courses that consider the cultural, economic, social, and personal contexts that impact the ways in which we adorn our bodies and present ourselves to the world. When I discovered that WORN publishes creative, intelligent content about fashion’s many facets, I decided to move to Toronto for a couple months to complete my practicum… and become a wornette!

My relationship with clothing tends toward the historical, yet remains grounded in what’s practical. When I do have time to sew (I wish I could find more), I get on my mom’s sewing machine from the ’80s and stitch together vintage-inspired projects. Mostly, though, I mend the garments that I’ve worn through. My mom’s cousin gave me a floral dress that she wore to parties in the ’70s, and that I would wear on my first day of grade 12. I tore the armhole seams as I kept the dress in heavy rotation, and I ended up sewing and re-sewing the same curved lines. The thread unraveled and the fabric tore away, but that’s what happens to clothing when it’s worn—it’s not so terrible.

Working at WORN will bring me closer to the personal histories of dress that I so dearly enjoy. Through reading (WORN has a stunning collection of books on dress and culture/subculture), interviewing a few local artists and designers, and writing about “clothes” encounters, I’ll be able to further explore our dressed selves in context. To get my daily inspiration of personal interpretations on fashion, I’ll need to look no further than the decidedly individual wornettes.

Current Inspirations

Are Clothes Modern? Or, What We Talk About When We Talk About “Dress”
Swedish costume historian A. E. Funk documents what she’s been reading in books and around the net in a Tumblr-like format, only she appears to find her captions first and then adds the eye-catching images.

Brain Pickings
If you don’t have time to read all those books on your list, click over here for a well-curated selection of quotes from interesting authors and cultural icons on writing, reading, and the creative life, among other things.

Obakki’s Treana Peake speaks at Vancouver’s Creative Mornings
A designer with a conscience, Peake is refreshingly open about her internal struggle over her work in an industry that requires human hands to create the garments, but rarely pays attention to documenting their stories.

Nardwuar
I recently re-discovered this Toronto-based master of the quirky interview. After watching him on MuchMusic growing up, I’ve enjoyed keeping up with him as he researches like mad and then surprises musical artists of all genres with his obscure questions and gifts.

Vogue Archive
An absolute must when doing fashion photographic research, this collection of Vogue from 1892 to the present has some real gems, including Anjelica Huston shot by Richard Avedon for a 1969 issue.

photography // Stephanie Chunoo and Tabitha Poeze

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