House of Quinn

simple luxuries for everyday

HoQ: Sentimental Value

Julius ArthurComment

How important are your clothes to you? 

Clothing and fashion, before the times of Primark and H&M, were items that lasted. Clothing was looked after, mended, passed down, recycled. Clothing was more integrated into peoples lives and was more than just a statement of personal taste, status or trend. 

The value to clothing needs to be realised. Even in modern society, fast fashion is created by people striving to make a life for themselves. In some cases giving up their life just to make money to support another life. All because you want a cheap T-shirt. 

That T-shirt has its own sentimental story, but the sentiment attached is a sad one. 

We want to change that don't we? 

The idea of sentiment is being explored by Emily Spivack, a writer and fashion historian. She is the creator of the Smithsonian fashion blog Threaded. A blog devoted to Sartorial content, fashion history and cultural effects of fashion. 

Emily's recent project "Sentimental Value" is an archive of clothing that has been accumulated purely on its sentimental merit. 

Emily's interest in the story's behind clothing sparked when she came across a very detailed tale behind a dress that someone was selling on Ebay. An item of clothing that came with its own history and account of where it was worn and what happened while wearing it, quite literally added to the description of the items listing. 

The story in its self was more captivating than the actual garment. Emily delved deep into the world of ebay listings to uproot some of the most detailed, personal and emotional stories connected to an array of clothing. From evening wear to the running shoes. Mundane and every day items that suddenly had a completely different appeal to them. 

Authentic Whitney Houston Handmade Snakeskin Dress, worn by Whitney

PROVENANCE Lot 322 of Whitney Houston”s court-ordered debt auction on January 9, 2007, in Irvington, New Jersey

Own a piece of history with this authentic long-sleeve floor-length dress is of a casino online golden color with allover snakeskin print. High neck with zipper closure at back. No size or label present as it was custom tailored for Whitney. She had a 24″ waist 35″ Hips.

The collections and obsession with these stories began online, and Emily has put together the "Sentimental Value" online archive, that shows all the items she has come across on her exploration of the popular listings website. 

Emily moved on from digitally archiving these finds, to wondering what the outcome would be if she started physically collecting these items. She now owns around 70 pieces sourced directly from Ebay and similar sites. 

The Philadelphia Art Alliance  worked with Emily in 2013 to put together an exhibition of the collection. showcasing each individual story and the connections that every garment had with its old owners, and the interactions it now has with its new owner and the public viewing it. 

This cache of stockings was the first purchase Spivack made on the basis of its back-story. 

a lot of vintage stockings, supposedly hidden in a barn where they had been used in pornographic films.

“I was looking for vintage high heels, and I came upon this vintage Playboy bunny outfit from the ’60s with the puff-ball tail and stockings, and these beautiful black high heels. They had all the costume elements, and also the woman’s original ID card and a photo of her wearing street clothes, just looking totally normal and completely anonymous. To find this costume that’s so loaded and also see this person who would put it on in the expressionless photo, all these things just clicked for me.”
Emily Spivcak for Collectors weekly 

the collection of found objects is fascinating. Not only does it tell a million stories, it also demonstrates the power of sentiment and time. Longevity and practicality of clothing. 

The exhibition had a catalogue that ran along side it and can be found here




HoQ: Raf Simons the collector

Julius ArthurComment

Fashion is transient, moving and developing. We have been exploring the concepts of slow fashion and as House of Quinn is a brand built on the merits and ethos of collecting. We look to Raf Simons as inspiration in terms of the collections we surround ourselves with. 

Today's focus on Raf's career is at the forefront of the industry and the popularity in Mr Simons has grown through the popularisation of his work through a new generation exploring his influence as seen on modern music icons. 

As you know, Raf's career has been built on the merger between fashion and music. looking at how the youth cultures interacted with fashion, and how it fed back into the intrinsic way in which its listeners and followers created their own styles. Edited the styles they were given and created new uniforms. 

Photo for the Danny Sangra  interview with Raf Simons

Photo for the Danny Sangra interview with Raf Simons

But ultimately this whole Raf world was built from the inherent nature of the collector inside Raf. Coming from a furniture background, inspired by form and function, aesthetic and time. The whole Raf "movement" stems from a critical eye on personal taste. 

Raf's personal collections are what I am truly interested in, the fashion that comes from the designer is what stems from merging his influences. Being surrounded by beautiful objects, that question space and also negative space is what he sees. 

Raf's home in Antwerp is a shrine to the creative output you see on the catwalks. Art and collecting for Raf seem like a personal commodity, utilised in order to step away from fashion. To appreciate what is not fashion and what has not been created by himself.

Image from the  wall street journal

Image from the wall street journal

At House of Quinn we are about collections, putting the influences of what we love into design and we are conscious of that story. Placing ourselves within spaces adorned with personal objects that mean something to us. As I mentioned before slow fashion should take on this theory, if we collect what we absolutely love, we put more energy into obtaining it, keep hold of it for longer and find ways of integrating it into our everyday. A way of escaping, and holding on to your personalities. 

Raf's home is beautifully curated, filled with a wonderful selection of modern art, mid century design and furniture. The collection moves through the house, displaying objects in a way that brings them together but gives them the space they deserve. 

Collections of items from Margot Rugs, Evan Holloway Sculptures, a Ron Arad Chair. 

Sterling Ruby Ceramics are dotted around the house, monoliths to the creative forces that Raf keeps around him and works with from time to time. His personal surroundings informing his creative relationships and vice versa. 

Sterling Ruby ceramic sculptures

Sterling Ruby ceramic sculptures

Sterling Ruby ceramic sculptures 

Sterling Ruby ceramic sculptures 

I love Raf as a person, in interviews and in the recent documentary "Dior and I" he is a beautiful person, full of soul but with a humble and grounded approach to his life and design. 

His emotional connection to objects is what I find truly inspiring when it comes to making connections to this designer. I think that looking at the things we have around us says so much about a person, and is in a way so much more interesting. I think one of Raf's biggest successes is that you want to know more about him. He is intriguing and adored, but I would love to watch more interviews and read more articles about the people behind the design, instead of the design itself. 

Picasso Ceramics 

Picasso Ceramics 

Sterling Ruby Ceramics 

Sterling Ruby Ceramics 

HoQ : Collecting

Julius ArthurComment

A man after my own heart, Ken Stradling has been buyer, manager and director of the Bristol Guild of Applied Arts. 

I love collecting beautiful objects, much to the worry of my friends at the burgeoning amount of things that come into the house. But much like Ken Stradling my obsession with collecting started as a personal passion. 

Kens collection of 20th and 21st Century Items has turned into a relevant and important archive of applied arts and design. 

Kens Collection is now housed at 48 Park Row, Bristol and is open to the public on a Wednesday. Nothing is behind a cabinet, you can interact with every piece like a shop, but with out the purchasing. 

Recently one of my favourite publications, Inventory Magazine  put together a wonderful interview with Ken, Margaret Howell sat down with him to discus the collection and how it came  to be.