An international fashion research project exploring the 'craft of use'

Shared Use

Sharing clothes saves resources if it means fewer pieces are bought. For garments to have multiple users, fit matters; but they also have to be shared with the right people. Sharing works when a bond and joint identity is reinforced by common use; when a memory is re-lived; and when access is gained not just to more and different pieces but also to the values, taste and sensibilities of the owner.

Thievery by partners

Her: "So both [shoes and cardigan] came from my Grandad and he gave me the boots and I kind of liked them but I kind of wasn’t sure because they were two sizes too big for me. So I took them home, put them in the wardrobe and looked at them for years and kind of wanted to wear them but couldn’t because they were so big. And then I decided that I was going to embrace these boots and my Grandad and put on five pairs of socks and wear these boots. And I did and I have worn them ever since and I love them and it makes me very happy and every time I go back they are more ripped and in a worse state and I love showing him that I really have worn them and not just telling him I am – he can see it."

Him: "I wear the cardigan a lot. I really like it as an item – as a thing to wear – it is really warm and lovely. But I also like that fact that it is a thing that came from your Grandad, it’s a really nice feeling to have these things that we share and both wear. I wear the boots as well. The boots fit me perfectly…and they are just really comfortable. They are really old school, really well made. Remember when you wore them in the snow and the leather started cracking and so we have been thinking about ways to mend them and actually… [someone suggested I] get a puncture repair kit and repair them with that. It’s really nice to share something and both wear it, though you can get into debate over who’s going to have it that day. Wearing these has made me feel like wearing different kinds of shoes… shoes that are made…"

Her: "That are long lasting in a way that I’d never thought about shoes before."

Him: "Shoes that you can mend. I’d got into wearing trainers and then I’ve kind of gone completely back into wearing shoes again as they’re much more comfortable.”

London - March 2011
Photograph by Kerry Dean