An international fashion research project exploring the 'craft of use'
Photography by Paige Green

About The Project

Local Wisdom is a project originated by Dr Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. Started in 2009, Local Wisdom is now generously funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

The project, which links together a network of partners and design activity in seven centres of high fashion consumption spread across three continents, explores satisfying and resourceful practices associated with using clothes. This ‘craft of use’ aims to challenge the dependency of the fashion industry on increasing material throughput and propose solutions through sustained attention to tending and using garments and not just creating them.

Local Wisdom combines ethnographic research methods with design process. It gathers stories and images from the public of how people use their clothes at community photo shoots. These use practices are then the basis and inspiration for design projects in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand which aim to amplify these practices and explore their integration into larger programmes or original business models.  Frequently Asked Questions

The sorts of stories we're looking for include, among other things, a garment that: 

  • Is easily repairable
  • Is shared between people
  • Is enjoying a third, fourth or fifth life
  • Surprises you each time you wear it
  • Shows or tells the story of how it has been used
  • Is worn in ways that defy the producer’s values
  • Is worn regularly and has never been washed (and isn't leather!)
  • Is made up of interchangeable pieces that can be worn in different ways
  • Connect you to others
  • Is worn in response to changing economic and environmental concerns
  • Is adapted over and again in order to meet changing needs

To date, community photoshoots have taken place in: