I think there are some interesting connections waiting to be made between fashion and grief. My grandma adhered to a custom for widows, wearing all white for decades following my grandfather's death. My mama chastised me throughout my teenhood for wearing all black. "Vhy you are mourning alvays?"
When my dad died I took on the painful task of going through his entire wardrobe, a narrow closet with tightly packed button-down shirts, sport coats, polyester pants, belts, ties, miscellaneous paperwork, slide carousels of my childhood, and a package of the teeny tiniest tape dispensers I've ever seen. (He would buy anything, no matter how useless, if it was on sale and blamed it on having grown up dirt poor during WWII in a dust cloud of rural colonial despair. An awesome strategy for shutting down opposition.) I went through every pocket of every item of clothing finding a neatly folded unused tissue in almost every pair of pants. It was intimate and sad until I found the drawer full of unworn "ladies" socks and my mom and I decided he was a "closeted" cross dresser. Our grief was momentarily interrupted with howls of delight. My mom made the decision to donate any clothing we weren't planning to save as keepsakes to relatives or organizations that offer aid to newly arriving refugees.
I brought several ties home with me, most of them still holding the knots my dad had made (he felt it was a waste to undo a perfectly decent knot for the sake of storage). And this summer, The Cupcake helped me screenprint the tie in the photograph above. I've often desired an occasion to wear a fiercely femme tie and now I create these occasions on a regular basis. I found the image online through a sex worker rights organization (I can't remember which one).
This tie is a recycled, reappropriated reminder.
Ties are so unapologetically standardized even though we're seduced into believing there are "risky" ones out there. What really changes? The width, the patterns, colour schemes, fabrics, the knots that we make...oh I guess that is kind of a lot. But what would it take to revolutionize our ties? To sensitize (not sanitize) ties. Oh puns or alliteration or rhyme or whatever the fuck. Let me know if it gets sickening and/or if you'd be willing to pay me to play with words all day. It's not like I'm getting any other work done right now.