Art Exhibit Memorializes Sentimental Ebay Purchases

Art Exhibit Memorializes Sentimental Ebay Purchases

One artist reveals the unique history that comes with some pieces of second-hand clothing

Ross Brooks
  • 23 august 2013

For some people, buying a new piece of clothing is fairly cut-and-dry, but for others it is a chance to own a little piece of history. That’s because as one writer discovered, there is often more than meets the eye when it comes to clothes shopping.

Talking with FastCoDesign, Emily Spivack recalls shopping on eBay for a pair of vintage heels when she stumbled on a 1967 Playboy Bunny costume for sale. It came with the ID badge of its original owner, and a fairly uninteresting black-and-white photo of the woman. All this made Spivack wonder who this puff-tailed woman could be.

From then on the writer began scouring eBay for more pieces instilled with their own unique history and posted them to her website,, along with users’ original descriptions to give the items more depth.


After a couple of years, Spivack began bidding on the items, building a collection of 60 sentimental pieces. Her project was also recently converted into an exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, with 23 items of clothing and their original tales on display until August 23rd.

Some of Spivack’s favorites include a green chiffon dress splattered with the blood of a murdered mobster; sunglasses blessed by Michael Jackson’s holy hands; Nikes with slashed air bubbles, courtesy of an angry ex-girlfriend; and a black minidress unintentionally purchased during a bout of drugged “sleep shopping.”


The project itself aims to go against the idea of buying items that are just like all the others. Instead of buying a piece of clothing that has been mass-manufactured, why not try to find something that has a bit of history attached to it, that way your clothes will hold more value than just the cost of the materials a brand name.


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