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Henry Ford Museum, American Style and Spirit exhibition video

American Style and Spirit: 130 Years of Fashions and Lives of an Entrepreneurial Family was on view at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, from November 5, 2016 through April 2, 2017. The exhibition featured clothes worn by members of the Roddis family of Marshfield, Wisconsin. To correspond to the exhibition, the museum produced a video that explored the powerful relationships people have with their clothing.

Dr. Kimberly Thomas McNair
Dr. Kimberly Thomas McNair, a postdoctoral scholar in American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, researches and writes on textile production, black women’s labor, and black popular culture. Her current work focuses on the role and tradition of the T-shirt in black political expression and movement building. McNair ties the contemporary significance of these garments to their historical precedents.

Dr. Ellen Sampson
London-based artist, curator, and writer Ellen Sampson examines the relationships between bodily experience, memory, and clothing, with particular focus on footwear. She was trained to make shoes at the prestigious Cordwainers College in London, where she also received her MA. Sampson recently completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art, for which she studied the phenomenon of human attachment to footwear. Her work takes the forms of film, installation, and sculpture.

Emily Spivack
Emily Spivack’s first book, Worn Stories (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014), featured engaging “sartorial memoirs” from Simon Doonan, Greta Gerwig, and Cynthia Rowley, among many others, and made it onto the New York Times Best Seller list. Worn Stories was followed by Worn in New York (Abrams, 2017). While Spivack’s books have been especially successful, she has initiated numerous creative projects centered on fashion, including an analysis of scented T-shirts and, through Craigslist, a gathering of strangers’ stories about fashion mishaps.

Tom van Deijnen
Textile practitioner Tom van Deijnen (Tom of Holland) runs an initiative known as The Visible Mending Programme. He addresses the growing dissatisfaction with throwaway clothing culture among consumers by taking on mending projects that “take forever,” allowing him to understand the materiality of objects and explore various methods of repair. He perceives visible mending as a badge of honor and encourages his followers to reassesses the value of their clothing.