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

Alternative Dress Codes

The choices we make about what we wear are influenced by life present, lives past and our ideas about our future selves. Expressions of values, aspirations, heritage, understanding and the physical shape of our bodies build a rationale for dress that transcend narrow commercial views about fashion. Instead they give us broader perspectives that honour our reality as well as our aspirations; and connect our psyche with our fibre and fashion choices.

My own thought process

"[My wardrobe] is very small. I’ve got the one pair of pants which are like my formal item -you can wear pants when you go out. And then I have two pairs of shorts that used to be pants and they’re like wrecked, they’re falling apart, but that’s kind,of how I like it. And then I’d say I have maybe four normal t-shirts, like plain black t-shirts. And then two t-shirts that have like a print on them that are just again black coloured t-shirts. Those two were made in New Zealand. The other four are made in China. And all of those, everything except for the trousers, were bought second hand, that’s like less than ten dollars an item.

And I have one blazer or jacket, I suppose jacket which I don’t really wear because it’s too expensive. Which is really funny. I got it second hand. It was ten dollars at an opshop and I looked it up and it was like a seven hundred dollar jacket, Ahhh! And just because it was so expensive, like the contrast between that jacket on me, like it’s just so well fitting and nice and it makes the rest of my clothes look like crap. So yeah, eventually I’ll wear it.

I have one really thin summer sweater but it’s not practical, like the sleeves are way too long so you can wear it once and then you have to wash it to get it to the right size again. So I hardly ever wear it. And then another jumper that I had which just disappeared into thin air one night. I was out in town and I just didn’t come home with it.

I don’t like buying things. Because I don’t like the idea of consumerism and it’s like if I buy something that’s from a brand new shop, I feel like it’s not my thought process that’s led me to want it. So I just wear really minimal black kind of things."

Wellington, New Zealand - March 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young