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

Perfect Piece

Consumerist fashion is all about what is right on trend, right for uniform mass-manufacture and ultimately right for the figures on a balance sheet. Lost in the mix are a garment’s finesse, fit, appropriateness; and the space to nurture individuality, skills and confidence in a wearer to recognise and revel in the ‘rightness’ of a particular piece.

Finding the right partnership between wearer and garment is the difference between using a piece time and again or throwing it away. Each partnership, like each person, is different. Matching one with the other and being open to the almost limitless variety of possibilities this enables, underscores fashion system diversity.

Aptness comes in many forms

"This is a coat that I love that a friend gave me. I think the label is Product. I can’t find this designer anywhere. I’m actually just going to have to go to a tailor. Actually a found a little old lady in Brooklyn and I’m actually just going to go with this coat and ask her to recreate it in a another fabric of her choice. But I wear this frequently. You want to know why I like it? I love this coat like I love few other garments but it is absolutely shot. I’ve used it for years. …I love the drape and I love that it’s very light and it’s still pretty windproof. Friends have said, “Oh you looks so French today.” I know what they’re trying to say but I don’t think this looks like an especially French garment. I think they’re saying that there’s something unusual about the coat. Which I share that belief.   The arms are too short. I don’t know why because I don’t think I have especially long arms. It’s the one thing I don’t like. So when I have it remade in Brooklyn, the arms will be longer and while we’re at it the buttons need to come down further. …The buttons only come to about navel length and you know wind blows it open. I don’t want to judge. I don’t know what the idea was for the design ending at the belly but that’s it. Other than that, perfect.   The scarf is really just an ordinary pashmina but I found it in the subway and its probably no different then a pashmina that you could find on the street although I can’t find a black one so I was delighted to find this one. It’s very warm unlike ones that I have bought. And I have bought a lot of pashminas off the streets of New York city.   I’ve brought these gloves. These gloves are insanely perfect. And you’ll be delighted to know that I think I’ve never washed them. I’m actually a bit of a germ freak so I would have like to wash them.  You know I washed the pashmina that I found in the subway after I found it. However these gloves, actually I may have…these gloves are very puffy warm mittens and inside the fingers are individual. I guess they’re mittens but inside there are individual channels for each finger. So they’re very warm. I can’t imagine why somebody threw them out. And by the ways when I say I found them in the garbage. I didn’t dig through somebody’s garbage can to find them. Someone had placed them on top of the bin I guess so somebody could find them. They’re incredibly warm. I cannot find anything like them elsewhere. So I don’t actually care for mittens. I find them very inhibiting but in the dead of cold you know in the dead of winter these are really wonderful and they’re a curve to the hand so it kind of does allow movement. I think they’re great.   I also brought these sunglasses which I’ve had for about 25 years. And I have recently found a number of things that I put away and now that they’re kind of so old I can wear them again and not feel silly. So I do." 

New York - January 2013
Photograph by Ellinor Stigle