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

Open and Adjust

Garments can be reworked to meet changing needs. The knowledge and skills to open up a garment and adjust it to fit enrich and embolden society. They remind us about ingenuity and resourceful possibility and help replace consumption with action.

Button vertebrae

“This is a very old cashmere cardigan which has quite a strong connection with my Mum. She’s quite a hoarder and I’ve inherited that off her. And I have a habit, whenever I go home of sort of going through her things and then persuading her that she doesn’t wear them anymore and that they should be passed on to me. So this is one of those that I think she must have got from a jumble sale or a charity shop.

I’ve customised it by sewing on these buttons. I found that when I wore it, I actually liked to wear it back to front with the buttons done up the back. But to make it look more purposeful I decided to sew on all these little shell buttons here which are from a sort of collection of buttons that again my mum had that I think as she’s worn through cardigans she tends to snip the buttons off and end up felting up the cardigan. So these are from old cardigans. And I quite like the way that if you wear it the right way round you end up with buttons sort of running down your spine like vertebrae. But then if you wear it that way round its sort of in the place of where the buttons would go.

I’ve also on the other side, sewn some additional buttons onto the button stand which sort of makes up for the fact that some buttons are missing from where they should be and other ones are sort of extra so that its all done up so that it’s a little kooky here. And sadly it’s getting very threadbare but I guess in the end when it finally goes I’ll have to snip the buttons off this one and start again with another...” 

London - December 2012
Photograph by Tim Mitchell