Created by Jenji Kohan, Worn
Stories is based on a book by Emily Spivack. It’s about people and their
relationship with clothing items in their closet. The docuseries has every
episode dedicated to a theme; Community, Lost and Found, Chance, and Growing.
The format of the documentary
series is quite unique – you have four core interview backed by supplementary
interview that are utilized as interstitials. The center of all conversations
are cloths and the connection people have with particular items in their
The show starts with the shot
of a bucolic community in Florida where two couple are playing tennis and are
bottomless. As you can tell, the first episode is dedicated to a nudist
community – they speak to a couple in their 50s who enjoy being nude all the time.
And interestingly, the only piece of clothing they adorn on their body is a
pair of Croc or sandal. You get to see another member of the community named
Niecey who is comparatively younger and is one of the few Black individuals.
She can be seen in a mesh top that allow her to “free the nipple”.
But that’s not it – the episode
extends and you meet a woman in Queens who is obsessed with a yellow sweater
which was given to her by a monk. She spoke candidly about her struggle – how
her migration from South Korea to New York has been a challenge and how she
liked to dance her heart out in the local community center.
Another person talked about the
perfect white dress that they discovered on their grandmother’s funeral and how
she couldn’t afford it initially.
Worn stories works on a simple
analogy – what does it remind you of? The docuseries is about people and their
stories and how they’re fondly related to a piece of clothing in their closet.
It’s about the item they most cherish and how it has been there for them in
their struggles and triumphs.
Since the show is available on
Netflix, we suggest you don’t follow the episodes in order – in fact, try and
skip the first episode altogether. It was nice but it’s wasn’t the best of the
lot. It’s just a bit strange to start a series about clothes with a bunch of
nudists. Like, are we trying to endorse clothes here or the fact that you don’t
need to wear them at all?
Yes, some of the nudist speak
about their attachment to sandals and mesh tops but to base an entire episode
on just that was honestly a waste of time and resources. The connection with
clothes becomes stronger with the episode “Lost and Found” – you meet a
saxophonist who talked about his codpiece, you meet a woman who spoke about her
favorite coat, a man emotionally attached to the ties made by his grandmother
and an air brusher obsessed with memorial shirts.
We all have clothes in our
cupboards that are just hanging there – not being utilized as per say. They
hold emotional and sentimental value. The show is about those pieces hanging in
our closet – the ones that have been there in the toughest of times and evoke
feelings of reminiscent. They might feel soft and live-in, and sometimes, they
might even know how to make us look our best. At the end of the day, these
clothes have stories which make the connection stronger.
The book Worn Stories was
published in 2014 and in New York it got released in 2017. The maker of the
series spoke about the process of making this documentary in a candid
interview. She said that the decision to turn this book into a documentary was
a deliberate one. She said that when you look at clothes, you contemplate a
story and fill the gaps. When you look at a piece of cloth, you try and
formulate a story and character of the person wearing it.
She said: “Ah, I wish there was a visual component. I wish you could see the
person. I wish we could actually create fantastical recreations of what they’re
telling me.” So, I started thinking about that once the second book came out. I
was like, “Yeah, there’s more here.
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