Day 108: The Fabric of Our Lives

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April 17, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

I don’t adhere to the notion that “the clothes make the man”, but even I admit there’s some undeniable elements of character expressed through dress.  Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing – certain colors and patterns drive discrete impulses deep within our subconscious; maybe it’s for fun – some things are just for show.  I try not to let my clothes speak for me, but when there’s nothing else to go on, it’s hard not to try and guess what a person was thinking when they got dressed that morning.  (For me, it usually consists of “do these socks smell awful yet?”)  Today’s project is embarking on a trans-continental excursion to explore all that’s sewn into the clothes we wear.

The CLOTH Project began with Blue Skye Bledsoe in Detroit, where her fascination with the cultural influence of clothes had on her city.  She left Motown to go after a Merchandise Marketing degree in L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.  Now, with years of experience, she’s left with a head full of more questions than ever, and is ready to cross the globe in order to find out how what we wear changes the fabric of our lives.

The Cloth Project is a driven journey from North to South America, beginning in Detroit, Michigan and ending in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am on a quest to uncover the social significance of clothing, to understand the excessive consumerism in the U.S., and to rediscover what made me fall in love with this stuff in the first place.

It’s a personal journey for Bledsoe, but it’s one that can enlighten us all.  Whether you’ve got a closet jam-packed with brand names and labels or the depth of your fashion sense is one aisle over from the fire extinguishers at Sears, the significance of what you’re wearing is more than skin-deep.  My fashion is different from yours (probably) and yours from your parents’ and neighbors’ and friends’, but this project will explore how and why and what those differences mean to people across the whole hemisphere.  I hope Blue Skye makes it to Rio having discovered enough to fill her head with even more fascination, and that she’ll continue her expedition through the streets and markets around the world.  Get behind her journey by backing The CLOTH Project on Kickstarter before April 27.


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