In smaller communities people can more easily see the effects of their own actions on each other and the environment. They can also better understand the ramifications of their choices; allowing them to take responsbility for them. Expressing community through our garment choices sews the seeds of a new type of self-reliance in fashion based on connection to people and place.
Pattern of the islands
"This is a very precious garment. It was knitted for me for my great aunt, my grandmother’s cousin. She came from the island of Tiree in the northern Hebrides. My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, so I used to sit on her lap as a child. And she would tell me the stories of my ancestors who were fisherfolk on the Isle of Tiree and how the women, who all had white hair in their late twenties… would sit on the beaches and knit the patterns of the islands on the fishermen’s jerseys. But they were also waiting for their husbands to come back.
So there was a way of knitting, which she described…. with your needles tucked ‘under your oxters’ which are you know, your armpits. So they would knit from memory these patterns…
So my great aunt came to live in New Zealand, a doctor, retired in her sixties… and she asked me if I would like a jumper and I told her the story that I remembered my grandmother telling me, and she knitted that patterns that she remembered from Tiree into this. I’ve had it for twenty five years and I’ve never washed it and I would wear it some years, some not and. Some years I wear it a lot…"
Wellington, New Zealand - March 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young