Quarantine Closet

Toronto is in the midst of a heat warning and I don’t do well in high temperatures. So today is another lazy post.

Clearly climate change is real and the fashion industry has a big impact on the environment and the health of people who make our clothes. Clothes play a big part of my identity — especially how I express myself. I like to think that because I upcycle and buy vintage that my conspicuous consumption is not so bad. Still, I decided to draw every item of clothing that I added to my wardrobe over the pandemic as a way of meditating on my habits. I started with things I bought in New York on March 13 — the day they shut Broadway down — to things I acquired this week. We are teetering on the edge of another lockdown so I may have to add to this accounting down the road.

It’s a lot when you look at it all laid out in pictures. There are way too many online purchases made to alleviate my anxiety. Many of these items ended up being listed on Poshmark or traded with friends and family because I couldn’t try them on and they just didn’t fit right when I got them

When I was analyzing the sheer amount of acquisitions I also realized that getting rid of old clothes is just as problematic as shopping for new garments. Even when you donate them, they can still end up in landfills or end up being sent overseas to become some other country’s problem. To keep clothes circulating, I’ve been selling things on Poshmark, BUNZ trading them or sharing directly with friends and family.

What other insights did this exercise provide? I did make a lot of my own clothes, which scratched a lot of creative urges during those long months when we never left the house. I didn’t picture the many pieces that I repaired, but I also upcycled a few things to make them feel new.

I realize that I haven’t placed these drawings in chronological order. It might have been more interesting to have provided a timeline for context. Feel free to play armchair psychiatrist when judging my purchases.

You can probably get a sense of the historical milestones of the last 16 months. Most online purchases happened in the beginning and during deep quarantine times when stores were shut down. When they reopened, I tended to use those windows to hit thrift shops (thrifting is not the same online).

I should have also kept a visual ledger of all the things I got rid off during the COVID Crisis. I still have one more page of clothing to add. I’ve just run out of pages in my sketchbook to draw them in.