Michigan - Missouri - Wisconsin
This shirt was worn by my father as he migrated from Michigan to Missouri (and his many travels throughout) before being passed down to me as I began my journey from Missouri to Wisconsin.
Of all the items I brought to college, this shirt, to me, is a symbol of heritage and identity. Like the Bisht, being able to convey these key elements of oneself in a manner both visible to others and physically close to one’s own body heightens the significance of the item. Though not handmade for me (as the Syrian robe was presumed to be), these two items also share the theme of a history extending before its most recent owner. Neither piece’s journey simply began on a department store’s shelves.
Be it through laborious creation of personalized details or accumulated scuffing from years of prior wear, these pieces tell a story of migration, diligence, and pride— even without the necessity of their wearer’s presence.
By Helen Griffin