Red Robe

I don't use a bed or bath robe typically but I’ve recently seen them in the media more and was interested in taking this piece of clothing and exploring how to manipulate its connotation as a garment. I chose a secondhand robe made of significantly less soft or extravagant material compared to the others available. I was drawn to this one for its bizarre texture: it’s very lightweight and doesn't seem ideal for lounge-wear or to use after a shower. I was at a loss for its intended purpose and wanted to create my own.

    Secondly, I picked up some red yarn at the thrift store. The yarn had actually all been finger knit, which I didn't discover until I was about to begin working with it. So I undid almost all of the finger knitting. I left a short length to be used as a tie for the robe since the original didn't come with it and I have a fondness for finger knitting after many a summer afternoon spent doing only that.

    I didn't have a proper strategy for my alterations but I knew I wanted to explore destruction and alternative/visible mending as I worked on the robe. I would cut out bits of the robe one at a time and then crochet a panel to replace it. Each panel I crocheted I tried to vary the stitches or dimensions, resulting in many crocheted textures breaking up the robe's original, subtle texture. As I worked, I was trying to control my desire to keep cutting away at the robe, I didn't want to risk the crochet overpowering the piece and leaving viewers without any hint of the original piece of clothing.

    Ultimately, my red robe reflects my tendency to start projects without a clear plan, just interesting materials. I also learned that as I worked I put myself into quite the ambitious state, convincing myself to push each panel or alteration to a higher level of technique or interest. The red against the cream robe does have an almost aggressive impression of blood or bodily harm. Looking at the finished piece I have come to interpret it as a garment that reflects my sometime aggressively ambitious tendencies that often leave me at risk for self destruction. I am satisfied with the transformation of this once seemingly ineffective robe into a representation of my conflicting emotions while creating.