Parents as a species have always had a bad rap for the way they dress, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen my mom and dad as quite the sartorially savvy couple. One always seems to compliment the other, and no matter what they’re wearing, they fit perfectly together. When I was home a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an album of photos from early in my parents’ marriage. I can safely say one thing: my parents are cooler than yours.
Montrealer Yuli Sato spends her time creating photographs of unseen other worlds with an assortment of thrifted vintage cameras. Yuli studies at Concordia University. Her photos are haunting but beautiful, often taking place in deserted snowy forests, upon grassy hilltops, or in empty indoor swimming pools. Yuli talks to WORN about butterfly clips, school uniforms and chai lattes.
What’s the last fashion publication you read?
Lula, but I haven’t actually looked through it thoroughly yet even though I got it a few months ago. I love the overall aesthetic; they’re not as concerned with showing the clothes in a commercial way and its general mood lures me in. I also dig the interviews.
How has your style changed since elementary school?
Quite a bit. I grew up in the ’90s, so I was obsessed with wearing those woven plastic necklaces. Platform sneakers and butterfly clips were also big for me. I think I was a little too young to really get the full effect of the ’90s, but my sister is three years older and was such a ’90s teen – it was so fantastic. She rocked bell-bottom jeans, cropped tanks and flannel.
I’ve been trying to move toward a more classic look lately, so I only buy things I know I will like in five or ten years, as opposed to something super trendy. If I ever feel like dressing a little crazy, I’ll shop at a thrift store so I don’t feel guilty if I don’t end up liking things in the long run. I just bought an amazing Navajo print blazer, a floral maxi dress, black maxi skirt, and a few giant men’s sweaters at Goodwill for less than $20.
I’ve always been obsessed with my family’s old photo albums; they bring back memories so far gone that sometimes I think I’ll never get them back. On a recent visit with my parents, my dad (while looking for some important papers in a tightly-packed drawer) stumbled upon some albums from his own childhood and teenage years. It was the seventies and eighties; the bell-bottoms were nothing short of epic, the plaids were so bad they were good, and the floral-prints were downright groovy.
Where to begin? Look at those pants (second from the left, like you didn’t already notice)!
Then there’s my grandmother and Auntie Ruth in plaid (on the right). Also note my
Uncle Bill’s hair (centre, back) and that awesome shearling coat in the front row.
Here’s my dad’s mum in a poppy-printed dress, belted at the waist. Spring inspiration?
Well, what do we have here? There’s some wicked-cool knee-high socks with what looks
like a school kilt and a leather jacket. Then there’s the mustard yellow tops (far left, far right), and
my dad in double-denim (front and centre). My cousin Adam sports a bonnet and one-piece sleeper.
Like the rounded corners on a sepia-toned photograph, there is something about gingham or polyester that can evoke a different era on sight. They say clothing can retain memories; photographer Irina Werning put that theory to the visual test with her photo series Back to the Future. In letting people recreate their childhood photos (and childhood outfits), the series is an exercise in both nostalgia and retro aesthetics – a little reflection on how much we might change while our clothing stays the same.
- Anna Fitzpatrick