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

Material resourcefulness

Garments are fusions of materials and energy brought to the body in myriad configurations, yet the dominant force in fashion, consumerism, tends to value only a narrow spectrum of fashion activity. The practices of material resourcefulness broaden this view and show a burgeoning testing ground of an alternative flows of fibre, fabric and product.

One-off fit

"I’ve been collecting vintage clothing since I was a teenager, mid to late 70s New York City. And at the time there were amazing things to be found for little. Nobody wanted them. And I always had an appreciation of how things were made. I never understood why they were being thrown out.

This is one of my favourite pieces… a coat from the early 60s. It’s from Paris. I found it in a local store that had a great name… Cha Cha’s House of Ill Repute. …As I walked in, I saw it at the end of the room on a rack with two other things. And I said, ‘If this doesn’t fit me, I’m going to take it apart and put it back together and make it fit somehow. And so it fit. It just fit. I can’t gain any weight. So I wound up buying it and I wear it quite a lot.  

The gloves are actually a rare newer item but I bought them on a trip to Italy and saw them across a square through the window of a store. And my husband said, ‘only you would see that about a mile away.’ And I ran in and they didn’t fit. They were the last pair. And I said what any logical woman would say but no man would think to say which was, ‘can you stretch them?’ (laughs) And the woman who sold only gloves took out this little tool that I’ve never seen and said, ‘of course.’ And she stretched them and we stood there for about twenty minutes stretching them and trying them on and trying them off but that’s you know I think that acquiring certain things that you really value is what’s meaningful to me."

New York - January 2013
Photograph by Ellinor Stigle