If the idea of staring into the abyss of your closet doesn’t provoke a profound emotional response, maybe it’s because it’s too daunting. Take out just one item – a vintage band t-shirt, a special occasion dress, or even a pair of everyday shoes – and prepare to put it in a new light with a little help from Netflix’s new documentary series Worn Stories consider.
Based on the book of the same name by Emily Spivack, an artist, writer, editor, and curator, Worn Stories asks multiple people – only some of whom are recognizable to the fashion set – to share the stories behind their favorite piece of clothing. The premise is simple, isn’t it? But over the course of eight episodes, I experienced a variety of emotions. Yes, you will laugh, you will cry – frankly, you will likely cry more than once – and you will end the series with a newfound sense of curiosity about not only other people’s fashion choices but your own wardrobe as well.
With so many great real life characters, it’s hard to narrow down a favorite interview or even an episode. But I found that the worn out stories I remembered most were the ones I least expected: Rudy buying his first new shirt after 41 years in prison; Spirit, a non-binary teenager preparing for his b’nai mitzvah; Diane and Paul, a nudist couple; and Shoham, whose pursuit of a misplaced Rachel Comey coat reminds us that it’s the journey, not the destination.
Produced by Jenji Kohan from weed and Orange is the new black Fame, Worn out stories offers her characteristic look behind the curtain and finds beauty in the stories of people who are often overlooked by society. Each episode is divided into different themes and loosely connected by threads – or occasionally treads. This confirms the role fashion plays in expressing ourselves, experiencing the world and using our own energy as the main character in moments big and small.
We caught up with Spivack below to discuss the latest take on her Worn out stories Project, including her favorite interviews as well as the future for fashion lovers in the post-pandemic era.