• Storm Ritter

new heirlooms

Absolutely LOVE when a client gives me something of theirs to breathe new life into it!

Subconsciously, we are all creating our own fluctuating costumes. Building an identifiable look from the pieces we wear and surround ourselves with. As a collector of nostalgia – as I like to phrase it – my home studio is a cornucopia of physical memories. As a retailer of my own work, I really don't have an issue saying goodbye to items I've made. Why? 1) I work quickly when in the zone, so my production rate is high. 2) I am happier to spread out pieces of myself to others, as its more fulfilling to give than receive. (yeah, that's very Hallmark card, but it's fucking true.) I keep pieces that are of divine, intrinsic value to me – perhaps due to where I originally got it or the first time I painted a new motif. Those things are my heirlooms and artist relics. My most requested pieces are usually ones that are essentially, mine. How I can elevate the pIeces I do sell? Everything I offer should have authenticity of soul. Quality over quantity, my friend! This had me thinking about the importance of heirlooms, or moreover, new heirlooms.

For example, this vintage leather jacket, was purchased as gift to me by a family friend in France. The jacket was gifted to me worn, patched with a few beaten up patches, and matted studding. As I added paintings onto the jacket, those moments of artwork immortalized a learning time in my life. This jacket is tattooed with experiences, Wow, now that beats out a new garment any day. And completely identifiable to me as it's with me throughout the fall/winter seasons.

But that's just the start of this conversation with myself. Off the top of my head, I remember being watching Scooby-Doo cartoons, flopped down in front of the television set. Damn, how I craved to have an identifiable costume that was just me. You know garments I would rock on the regular! But furthermore, I was more interested in where Daphne's green scarf went. Who inherited Velma's glasses? Ok, cartoon aside, the point is I was intrigued about rare personal items that weren't mine. Craved to build my wardrobe immersed in pieces that held a lot of meaning.

As I hit my early 20's, I've built quite a collection of special items, passed down from my mom or coveted from estate sales. Growing up in Florida, my mom and I exclusively shopped at second-hand vintage shops and local garage sales (quite the mecca down there for that.) Thanks to my main bitch, she instilled the concept of making an outfit for yourself that meant something. She is an artist herself, always wearing a white button-up shirt, cotton black pants, covered in paint – and also dripping in chunky, sterling silver jewelry. Trisha, aka Trish The Dish, was the most beautiful palette to me as a kid. Watching her stand on ladders for hours, painting children's room murals, in her ARTIST OUTFIT –– the clothing she wore when her soul shined! That was when she appeared powerful. She still has those painted shirts, some of her most prized possessions.

The concept of an Artist Outfit spawned a small run of white cotton t-shirts with this design simply showcased. I encouraged my customers to wear it with the knowledge that it becomes a part of you! Embrace the stains and changes of time. It's YOUR artist piece. A simple example of how something of quality can be transformed into something much bigger than a white tee. You can have a 100 t-shirts, but try to choose one that could be worn everyday because it tells a story.

Let me tie up this conversation. My point is, clothing should be SPECIAL. Could be a green scarf or a white tee with a perfectly worn feel. I don't need to express how the concept of fashion can teach time, environment, society, etc., but I do want to point out that our modern American culture is fast! Guess that just reflects our technology-obsessed, instant-gratification era. Americans are known to constantly feel the need to buy new, with cheap prices, and in bulk. The we throw things away as fast as we buy them. Let's sloooow the fuck down. And patronizing the bombarding number of "sustainable brands" isnt helping. Generations before us perhaps were just as consumerist-minded, but the products available (pre-outsourcing) were of higher quality and of manufacture standards.

What I am suggesting a change in is MINDSET. Enrich your home and wardrobe with new heirlooms, from yourself and others. Can you leave a garment for future generations to use, that holds your energy? Do you have heirlooms already that you could be using or re-purpose? When you do purchase something new, think about who made it, what it means to them and what it means to you. How will that item bring your closer to feeling naturally cool? 2020 has taught me that in order for you to feel the best about your life is when you are surrounded around things that are are understood as authentic to you. Memories are the best when you have a true experience.

Since I mentioned Scooby-Doo, I recalled one of my favorite songs I had in my portable CD player in the early 1990's. It was a soundtrack of 1970's songs played in the cartoon. Guess you can say, no matter what kind of modern entertainment I had, there was always some nostalgia tied to it. This song Recipe For My Love, written by Dany Janssen, but performed by Austin Roberts was my jam as a kid. I used to dress up in costumes and bounce on my bed to this. Simpler times.


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