The Transformative Power of Clothes | The English Channel

The Transformative Power of Clothes


The relationship we have with clothing is intimate and often difficult to articulate. Our sartorial choices manifest as an extension of ourselves, a reflection of our personalities – whether or not we are wholly aware of this. “I really loved the idea that clothing can be a catalyst to make us feel different and explore the different sides of who we are,” says vanguard director Crystal Moselle of Separating Ourselves, the concluding part of NOWNESS's The Way We Dress series. 

As with the remarkably intimate documentary The Wolfpack, a narrative centered on a group of brothers raised in confinement on the Lower Eastside, today’s film again highlights Moselle’s organic and sensitive approach to storytelling. Along with the idea that changing our clothes alters our physicality, Moselle also questions what we take into account when getting dressed.

For filmmaker and entrepreneur Jill Andresevic, comfort is the unifying force driving her aesthetic, whereas actress and artist Rebecca Dayan plays up the contrast of hyper-femininity and subtle masculinity ingrained in her style. Nelleke McCowan, a New York DJ, morphs into the characters her sartorial choices enable, as does Jamaican-born dancer and DJ Belinda Becker, whose clothing acts as a protective armor or an expression of total freedom. “I wanted to create an honest portrait with the common thread of duality that we all may share,” says Moselle. "Hopefully women can relate and explore the sides of themselves that they see."