The link between a person and a garment can never be planned for, but has lasting impact when a garment becomes a life-long companion. It reveals the potential for change in each individual and often marks that in the associations with a piece, for single, small actions can have big effects.
Bad connotations dissolved
“[My jumper] was my grandmother’s. She knitted it herself. I got it when she passed away. I had to go to her flat with my mum to clear it out her things and sort out what we wanted to keep and get rid of. Surprisingly to me, my mum hardly wanted any of the things, she sort of took a few household things but she was really adamant about not taking any of the clothing. Why I asked afterwards about it she explained that it is the physical nearness of the clothing which she couldn’t bare...
We met up one day and I was wearing this, kind of as I was today, over my jeans with a top. And she said, ‘oh you know, its nice that you’ve got her stuff.’ But she called that her Bettjacke, which is her ‘bed cardigan’ so she only, as my mum told me, wore this in bed when she was ill and not feeling well so it had really bad connotations for her. But to me, my grandmother was an amazing knitter and I like to remember that about her. She probably wore it in bed because, she probably knitted it too big. She was smaller than me and the sleeves go over hands and it stretches too long. And I wear it in the mornings now always when I get up. So in a way it’s a dressing gown as well so it’s kind of gone back to being a Bettjacke, but in a much nicer way…”
London - December 2012
Photograph by Tim Mitchell