TANNER FLETCHER: Fashion Designers

THE OBJECT: "Chester", a 19th Century Oil Portrait 

Chester behind the scenes at an early TF photo shoot

Q: Can you describe a sentimental object in your home with a special place in your heart? What memories or emotions does it evoke when you look at or interact with it? How has this object influenced your sense of identity and belonging?

A: It’s interesting to think about all the lives that objects can live. Specifically vintage objects. They have a story of their own that isn’t necessarily known to its new owners. Some are passed down, some found and some are from another time in your own life. This tattered, run down, 19th century portrait oil painting has only been a part of our lives for about 6 years but it has quickly become a staple in our home that not only signifies our sense of style but also reminds us of an important time in our lives. 

Chester in our ready to wear photoshoot

 Q: Sentimental objects often bridge the gap between the past and the present. Could you share a story about how a particular object became so meaningful to you? Has its significance evolved, and if so, how has it adapted to the changing chapters of your life?

A: When we are emotionally attached to an object, we tend to give it a name. In this case, the painting is called Chester. No rhyme or reason. He just looks like a Chester. Chester became meaningful for us because he was found while we were shopping for decor to fill our new Brooklyn apartment. We found him at an antique store in Minneapolis where we lived at the time although a town in Alabama is written on the back of the painting. We hadn’t even found an apartment yet, we simply knew he must come to NY with us. We had been searching for a piece like Chester for a while but noticed that 19th century oil paintings can get quite expensive. I don’t remember exactly how much he was but I believe he was under $200. A steal to say the least. I think he was priced lower because of the knicks in the paint and holes in the canvas. Seen as something negative to some but all we see is character and aged beauty. Chester has been hanging in the same place in our apartment since we moved here. He has seen the ups and downs of starting a business, has been included in numerous photoshoots and even in our CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund application video.  

Chester on the TF website when it first launched. This is before we ever had ready to wear. We made these handbags from scratch in our apartment.

Q: The sentimental value of an object is often intertwined with the people who are part of its narrative. Could you recount an instance where a sentimental object became a source of connection or shared history among family members or friends? How does the presence of this object enhance the sense of kinship and emotional bonds within your home?

A: Chester reminds us of a time of newness and uncertainty in our lives. He represents our journey to where we are today and will always be around to do so. Tanner and I grew up in small northern towns in the midwest so preparing to move to NYC brought on a lot of emotions. It was very exciting yet daunting and scary at the same time. We were a couple of 21 year olds who simply knew NYC was the palace for us but we didn’t know much more about what we were going to do when we got there. With Chester wrapped in bubble wrap, Tanner’s dad drove us in a uhaul across the country to our new home. I was waiting on my acceptance to the Barneys internship program, Tanner would start a job in staging right away. Little did we know we would end up starting our own business together. Chester has seen the apartment move around a million times to adapt to what’s going on in our lives. There have been buying appointments where we attempted to make the space look like a showroom. Photoshoots with 10 people crammed into a small space. He seen it fill up with work clutter and inventory and now he will see the space go back to a living space only as we get ready to move into our first office space.

Chester when we first moved into our apartment in Brooklyn. 


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