Inspiring Interviews

Inspired By: Emily Spivack

Emily Spivack is a creator, artist, and writer from Brooklyn. She is the author of two New York Times best sellers - Worn Stories and Worn in New York and the creator of the Netflix series, Worn Stories, which tells the stories of peoples’ most meaningful pieces of clothing. Recently, founder Amy Voloshin sat down with Emily to learn more about her journey to developing Worn Stories and what she’s working on now.
November 2021
Inspired By: Emily Spivack
Inspired By: Emily Spivack

I had the pleasure of meeting Emily through some mutual friends back when she lived in Philadelphia. At the time, she was running a not-for-profit organization and body-image resource for women surviving cancer, and we totally connected over all things business and fashion. After following her journey for some time and, of course, watching her netflix docu-series Worn Stories, I knew I wanted to share her story.

AV:

What inspired you to create the show/write the book?

ES:

Back in 2007, I was browsing Ebay in search of a pair of vintage heels. I stumbled upon a Playboy bunny costume from the 1950s. It had an ID card from the women who wore the outfit which included a black and white photo of her. I was completely fascinated – and wanted to know more about her story. I began scouring eBay for other stories and led to Sentimental Value, a seven-year art project. I started to reflect inward on my own clothes and the meaning behind them, and soon realized I had the passion for discovering other people’s stories. This is when it really took off – from a simple website in 2010, to two book releases, and now a Netflix documentary.

"Leo and I love the show  - we watched it over the course of two days while on a family vacation and couldn’t get enough of it. It’s heartwarming and shows a side of fashion that is often overlooked. The stories are joyous, inspirational, and show so many aspects of people and culture in America in such a kind and loving light."
- Amy Voloshin, Founder

AV:

How do you approach finding an individual's story?

ES:

It is really just about digging and approaching new perspectives. I typically start with friends and family and ask around from there. I then try to focus on a certain occupation/experience or a professional individual who has to wear a certain clothing item.

AV:

Was there any specific worn story that you resonated the most with?

ES:

While I definitely don’t have a favorite, I would say the Simon Doonan story is most reflective of Worn Stories. I covered this story in my book but knew it was one I wanted to put a visual to in the Netflix series. The story is about his pair of biker shorts he wore to aerobics in the early ‘80s. Aerobics was a moment of refuge for him during the AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles at the time. This story encapsulates what the project was about for me. Through a pair of shorts you can tell a story of a place, moment in time, tragedy, and culture.

Inspired By: Emily Spivack
Inspired By: Emily Spivack
AV:

How has Worn stories impacted your own perspective on the clothing you own and buy?

ES:

Worn Stories has changed the way I purchase clothing. I am much more particular about the types of items I purchase and their longevity. I really only buy items I know I will wear for a while and enjoy putting on something that has history behind it.

AV:

What’s the story behind the current clothing item you are wearing?

ES:

Currently, I am wearing white jeans and a white tee. This has pretty much been my uniform over the past 5 years. I have had this same pair of white jeans for many years and they are in a constant rotation within my wardrobe. For me, wearing all white is like a blank slate, it is what I feel most confident in.

AV:

Are there any projects you are currently working on?

ES:

A few months ago I was the guest artist for the New York Public Library Picture Collection, highlighting a new project called “I’d Wear That.” It analyzes if I would really wear certain things from fences to bowling balls to icebergs.

Inspired By: Emily Spivack
Inspired By: Emily Spivack
AV:

Since we’re a pajama company, we have to ask about some of your pj and sleeping preferences.

ES:

PJs: Matching sets or mix and match?
Matching Sets

Slippers: Yes or No
Yes, I always and have a pair of summer and winter slippers

What’s the one part of your nighttime routine you never skip?
Brushing my teeth

What’s always on your bedside table?
A book - the most recent Olivia Laing “Everybody”

Night owl or Early rise?
Everything has changed since having a child - I am now an early riser (not voluntarily)

What’s your favorite breakfast in bed?
Either yogurt from a farm in Maine or Avocado toast. I would also enjoy a cup of green tea.

Image Credits: Doré & Alabama Chanin Journal

A huge thank you to Emily for participating in this interview. I encourage you all to read Emily’s books
Worn Stories and Worn in New York, as well as watch her latest Netflix Docu-series. If you want to learn more about Emily you can check out her website and follow her on instagram. We would love to learn more about your personal worn stories, so feel free to share them in the comments below!

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