Clothes have stories. Sometimes they are our own, and sometimes they are the stories of the people who wore the sundresses and neckties before we came across them, whether from older relatives or in the local Salvation Army.
Artist Iris Häussler adds another layer to that conversation with her current installation Honest Threads. Set up in a red room in Toronto’s infamous shopping emporium Honest Ed’s, Häussler gathered clothes from people of all walks and brought each garment’s story to life. Reading a story attached to a pair of black leather shoes provide a connection between the viewer to their former owner. A viewer can even “walk a mile”, as they are invited to take the clothing home for a few days. This turns what was an installation work into a performance piece, but only for the wearer — who else would know that your boyfriend is actually wearing Ed Mirvish’s shoes to the grocery store?
Becky Johnson recorded her borrowing experience on her always-captivating blog (photo above is stolen from her post). Personally, I’d love to hear more stories from people who borrowed the clothing — where did they wear it? How did it make them feel? They have started to slowly post this layer of the clothing’s history on an Honest Threads blog, but I’m wanting more…
Honest Threads has been extended until March 28th at Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor Street West, 2nd floor, east wing. There is a free panel dicussion tonight, March 5th, 2009 at 6:30.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has seen the exhibit – what did you think?