Lito Apostolakou's Clothes You'll Never Wear
When Lito Apostolakou took up her pop-up residency at Princes Arcade in early June she moved in with a capsule collection of just a handful of her unwearable garments. During its 5-week run ‘Clothes You’ll Never Wear’ grew into an impressive boutique of absurd apparel inspired by the artist’s own clothes-related memories and those shared by passers-by, visitors and social media followers.
The pop-up attracted contributions from a number of artists and collectives, hosted a variety of workshops and closed with a mock fashion show in its final week. The installation was documented throughout and will be developed into a catalogue.
The project is a continuation of the artist’s ‘Archive of Daydreams’, an installation that was developed in the course of 2020 using materials sourced in and around her studio’s domestic setting and based on autobiographical observations as well as invited contributions of personal stories linked to home interiors and objects.
‘Clothes You’ll Never Wear’ set out to question our relationship with fashion and the significance of the clothes we (actually) wear as well as the role of retail in post-pandemic London. Located in a neighbourhood famous for its bespoke tailoring, the installation could easily have been mistaken for a dressmaker’s workshop or a vintage store. On closer inspection the garments turned out to be constructed not just from luxurious fabrics, but also cardboard and recycled packaging materials, found items and even sweets.
Decluttering wardrobes was a big trend during last year’s lockdown, yet we all hold on to these odd items of clothing we are unable or unwilling to part with due to the memories they hold. According to the labels attached to the items on display at Lito’s boutique, there seem to be some strong common threads:
Fearing the regret of letting go: of our younger self or of loved ones who passed, of specific times in our lives. Dressing up for protection and comfort: whether literally hiding in soft armour or snuggling in dad’s old jumper. Ideas of luxury: from Sunday best to the item bearing a first designer label, or a reminder that in post-war Britain even a hint of colour was considered a luxury.
At least this seems to be the case for most women, just as the vast majority of visitors and participants identified as female. Maybe men attach their memories to different items? An interesting anthropological study waiting to be tackled next by Lito Apostolakou whose background in archaeology and history is interwoven into her fine art practice.
a month ago
by Emma O'Connor