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.

Know how I want to use it

"I made this vest [waistcoat] about a year ago… It was a prototype for a clothing line that hasn’t happened yet. It was a sample that I just haven’t really taken off since I made it… I wear it almost everyday. Even through the summer I wore it. I feel that I would be the most capable one to make a garment for myself, because I know how I want to use it. I know the materials I want to use and the climate I am using it in… 

After wearing it, I was like, this is functioning how I need it to… ‘though the jacket was originally intended to be reversible, but I found that the pockets are awkward when reversed… they go backwards. So, they function more as internal pockets, rather than external ones… I also made a second one with wool Melton because the quilting was too labour intensive… and I lengthened the back but I don’t know if I would keep that change.

[The shoulders] might not be entirely symmetrical. That wasn’t intentional. It was like a wabi sabi factor. I would maybe change the fabric, this is a silk cotton, it is pilling… I mean depends on its use. If I were to make it for myself, I would make in a different colour maybe I would change the collar. A hood. I would add a hood… very tactile on the body. I like that the hands cross [the vest] over, so the left hand always goes underneath, over the buttons. I guess it’s just a habit. The way I use it is ingrained."

Vancouver - January 2013
Photograph by Jeremy Calhoun