One of the most widely recognized fashion rules is to have a little black dress in your closet. It’s an undeniable etalon of elegance and a “quick exit” answer to any wonders what to wear for an occasion. But the exciting thing is that a little black dress has some kind of high-note connotation in the sound of it, related to a celebration or an important event. And have you ever considered the death of a close person or even yourself as an event worth a piece of clothing with thought put into it? Very unlikely, I believe. However, it’s December, mostly known as the time of the Birth, yet the darkest time of the year when everything completely dies just before a new beginning.
“The most important aspect here is a scientific and psychological approach of the human body and textile as one entity.”
The idea of a little black death dress was brought by an Australian fashion designer Dr. Pia Interlandi who managed to think out of the box regarding the most certain and universal thing in human nature in culture – a garment suited to be worn for the very last time. The most crucial aspect here is the scientific and psychological approach of the human body and textile as one entity.
Even though it’s a hard and uncomfortable topic for many of us, it’s healthy to find a way to deal with such questions, for instance, asking yourself what you would like to be wearing in the afterlife? Of course, some might say that they don’t even know what they will be wearing for work tomorrow, so why would they care for such a thing? Yes, it’s a legit point, but it also shows how much we care. People tend to care about what they eat, how they live, and what they wear daily, having in mind their own and their environment’s wellbeing, so why should this perspective change all of a sudden when someone is gone, but the attitude remains on this Earth? We lack the continuity of the perspective we cultivate while being alive.
“Transformation of clothes as something other people have to deal with when death happens to their close ones and accordingly how clothes (dis)integrate when going together with their owner for the last trip.”
Garments for the Grave founder, fashion designer, and death practitioner P.Interlandi points out the importance of transformation. Transformation of clothes as something other people have to deal with when death happens to their close ones and accordingly, how clothes (dis)integrate when going together with their owner for the last trip. On the one hand, the body changes right after the last breath. It gets hard to deal with putting it in our casual clothes because the positioning, movement, and physical and mental approach to it changes, so it naturally poses questions of how a piece of the garment could be more adaptive and comfortable? On the other hand, isn’t it remarkable what happens next not only with the body but with the fabric as well? How does it react with the environment and what kind of print it leaves after itself?
“ Even though a person wearing his last piece of clothing won’t be feeling the sense the fabric, it is also an essential state of mind of how you prepare and are willing to find yourself for the last time.”
P. Interlandi asks a rhetorical and practical question. Why are we trying hard-wearing clothes that were designed to be lived in while they aren’t going to be used by the original purpose? For the last trip, whatever way it is going to happen, it would be natural to choose protein-based wool and silk or plant-based bits of hemp, linens, and cotton, which is biodegradable. In contrast, synthetics have an almost everlasting lifespan of 1-10 thousand years comparing with nature-based ones. And even though a person wearing his last piece of clothing won’t be feeling the sense the fabric, it is also an essential state of mind of how you prepare and are willing to find yourself for the last time. As, for instance, regards patterns, materials, colors, and design, because it all remains a representation of ourselves as much as it does every single day.
“Also, we shouldn’t forget that after someone is gone, he/ she is still interacting with others, so the relationship is special and preferably it should remain a sacred interaction. ”
In the sense of sustainability and ethics, afterlife clothes should take more important consideration than it does until this day. It is one way of coping with the fact of death and getting prepared for it in small steps taming the idea of dying. Also, we shouldn’t forget that after someone is gone, he/ she is still interacting with others, so the relationship with the little black death dress is unique, and preferably, it should remain a sacred interaction. Not only with people, but with the environment as well, so it’s something to be planned. And lastly, style is something that doesn’t die, so why not keeping your standards high and looking good ALWAYS?