SHIRT STORIES / SHARED STORIES: Reflections on the white shirt

The white shirt is conspicuous in our everyday life: buttoned up or buttoned down, monochromatic, deconstructed, fitted or oversized, the white garment is traditionally composed of two front panels, a placket with buttons, a one-piece back, a collar, two one-piece sleeves and two cuffs. Ever-present in the work environment, it promises elegant but understated attire for a social night out. 

It is a mundane, utilitarian item of clothing that is often underestimated due to its uniformity. 

A staple of both men and women’s wardrobes that is often described as a “basic” by most style guides, the white shirt is more than that. It is an iconic piece of clothing with more than 200 years of History. As we reside in it, it becomes charged with personal histories, evoking memories from our personal and professional lives.

SHIRT STORIES / SHARED STORIES: Reflections on the white shirt  is an exploration of the white shirt and its enmeshment in our daily lives.

We have gathered twelve variations of white shirts from and around Washington DC. The twelve owners have kindly agreed to share with us a personal memory involving their garment.

Through these diverse narratives, it becomes apparent that while the white shirt suggests conformity, acceptance, and respect of sartorial traditions, it also inspires modernity, subversion, and love and desire.

Each shirt is different in its materiality and form, yet each story shares a common thread: the addition of character and personality to the garment. 

A garment is not only fabric and thread, it is not simply owned, but worn. 

A garment comes to life through the memories and experiences folded into it.

The white shirt is a garment of endless potential, a blank canvas on which expression rests.

[SHIRT STORIES / SHARED STORIES: Reflections on the white shirt was presented at the Cheshire, in Washington DC, 09.05.19 until 09.15.19]

Director of Photography: Doryus ‘Sniper’ Jones, Task Force Visuals

Producer: Desirée Venn Frederic / an AGENTS OF ALTERNATIVES  production.  

This exhibition features white shirts by:

Mursal Abdullah  |  Krystel Abimeri  |  Alexandra Alfonso  |  Maryam Alemi  |  Sarah Bennani  |  Axelle Boyer  |  Eric Channing  |  Gabrielle Clary  |  Steven M Cummings  |  Zain Karamali  |  Urska Petrovcic  |  Nour Tabet 

Photography by Joilynn Jackson

This exhibition was made possible with support from the Cheshire.