Laundering is high impact and yet not laundering is socially unacceptable. But some pieces defy social pressure and are never washed, often motivated by the fear that laundering causes something precious to be lost: a scent, a memory, the particular way a garment fits, the quality of handwork, and even a political stance.
Just a few stains
"This jacket has been in my family only for about ten years now. My mother purchased it… and as you can see there are a few stains on it she was unable to remove. The garment itself is just beautiful in my opinion. It’s well made, it’s a very interesting fabric, it has a lot of interesting details. The way you put it’s sort of almost like origami-esque… There’s a wrap around belt that hinges in the back that almost makes it more of a shirt because it’s impractical to take it on and off and… the bow itself is on the shoulder [and] can come off so I’ve worn this in my hair so there’s multi uses for it. [My mother] was ready to throw it out but I snatched it up before she was able to do that and I wear it, even though there are a few stains. For me, it doesn’t bother me one bit so I still wear the garment… if it’s dark no one can see the stains, right? It’s part of her wardrobe that is now part of my wardrobe, serving the same purpose..."
San Francisco - April 2011
Photograph by Paige Green