By Selene Muldowney
By Selene Muldowney
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss
A few years back, mostly as a young adult, I traveled a fair bit with my family. One time we explored Western Australia by jeep traversing the long stretches of desert road in the mid-summer heat; another time we traveled along Thailand’s coastline during monsoon season. I had always packed my favorite clothing: a sweater from a trip to Canada sporting a moose, which I always thought brought me some luck in colder regions; a pair of socks from a trip to Russia with tiny bears in a bizarre pattern; and of course, a t-shirt with my favorite band emblazoned across the front (Bon Jovi if you wondered).
Each item meant something to me, evidence of my personal archaeology. Clothing is really evidence of our development, they paint a picture of ourselves and how we have grown to become who we are. The garments themselves speak of our change in wealth, values, and cultural identity. Often, they mark key events in our lives – especially those bought for occasions such as weddings or funerals. Sometimes we keep clothes to remind us of our former selves and the obstacles we overcame; other times we forge new memories by purchasing souvenirs – a preservation of something we want to recall later.
My adventures in life have been closely forged with the clothing choices I have made. The well-worn Russian socks are a reminder of my journey along a dusty, dry desert land home to incredible species of animals, and a landscape often deemed uninhabitable yet flourishing with life. They are a record of this adventure – a record of my personal history and to discard them would be an erosion of myself. My clothing tells a story and as a storyteller the socks speak much louder than my words. The holes in the toes and the rip in the seam tell of a time I walked far and my feet ached. They bled with determination to complete the adventure.
This past month I sought to find another article of clothing that would mark a notch in my personal historical dialogue, but I didn’t want just some piece of clothing. I wanted something that truly expressed who I was today. I was not dismayed. I discovered a very unique designer living not too far from me who told my story through her hand painted designs on clothing, shoes, and other wearable articles.
As consumers, we recognize the power we have to positively influence the retailers and manufacturers that design and sell clothing we wear ensuring fair wages and environmentally sustainable products. Sometimes, the standard is not entirely sustainable yet the company pays it forward by donating a portion of sales to a worthy cause.
Hello & Goodbye, the brainchild of a Japanese born artist, Sakurako who is better known as the Artsy Asian, is the kind of small business retailer I could support! She began with just a passion to tell a story with her art evolving into personalized storytelling. Her designs are unique and crafted mostly on sustainable, pay it forward articles like organic totes or TOMS brand shoes, known for effecting social change through One for One Charity model – buy shoes and give shoes to someone who needs them. She invited me to tell my story of who I am today – who I have become.
I chose a special design for a pair of shoes that symbolizes who I have become – the direction I choose to walk determines who I am. Sakurako told my story today with her imagery – her vision, her imagination, and her soul – her guide. She is a storyteller – her images are her words. I will wear these shoes and create new memories, forge a time marked in history. I encourage you to tell your story or find a gift for the upcoming holidays or special occasion with the Artsy Asian and her own unique style: Hello & Goodbye.
Find your story online and order part of your personal archaeology www.handgbytheartsyasian.com.http://www.handgbytheartsyasian.com