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Finding home at the back of the wardrobe

At our Work It event last week special guest Rebecca Weef Smith had all of our customers rapt as she shared a story about the importance of silver shoes to her sense of style. The tale illustrated her personal theory that the things we wear take significance in the emotional landscape of our lives.

Over the coming weeks we'll share some of our own stories and those of our customers, because this is a conversation that encapsulates what the Dressing Room is all about - a place where people come to express themselves through clothes.

First up we persuaded Gigi to share a story of her own and it starts with a humble bolt of cloth in the back of her mother’s wardrobe.

I visited my mother and we came across a bolt of fabric, stored away at the back of her wardrobe

“My grandmother was a traditional Bulgarian women. She lived in a remote rural village with her husband and raised her two daughters (one of them my mother). She kept goats, grew vegetables, made and mended as many women of her generation all over the world would have done. One of the things she made was cloth. She had a loom in her house, which I would watch her use when we went to visit in the summers of my childhood. On this loom she wove rugs, blankets, bedspreads - all sorts of things that she and her family used in their homes.

I moved to London over twenty years ago and left Bulgaria, my grandmother and that traditional lifestyle behind. Years later, after my grandmother passed away, I visited my mother and we came across a bolt of fabric, stored away at the back of her wardrobe. It had been woven by my grandmother on her loom and I knew that I should have it.

It’s a rough, natural, heavy linen fabric, simply finished with a blue border. My grandmother, my first role model, a strong warm-hearted woman, made it in her home with her own two hands, whilst sitting at her loom.

What thoughts passed through her head as she sat there rhythmically weaving this fabric? Who did she make it for? Did she imagine decades later it would travel to London with me in my suitcase? What would she have thought when I had my tailor turn it into a bathrobe and the towels I use every day? Does she know that every time I use them she flickers across my mind and I feel a deep connection to my roots?

I now realise that this simple bolt of cloth has come to symbolise a coming to terms with my past and helped me find a way to bring that past with me into my future.”

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