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

Patina of Use

With our garments, as with our bodies, the passing of time leaves its mark. Our relationship with these imprints is complex in both domains. With clothes, we sometimes discard pieces because they are ageing, dated, jaded or worn; at other times we buy vintage or pre-distressed pieces, coveting that which looks old. Yet these both overlook the power and pleasure of marking the passing of time as it is recorded in our clothes; the forging of memories, building of knowledge, evolution of appearance.

Pointy elbows

"Well so I have bought this cool jacket. Its quite ‘munted’, sort of ruined. [That’s] very Kiwi slang. I’ve lived in Wellington, this is my fourth year and I bought this second hand vintage when I first moved down, so in my first year you know you’ve just come to University, you’ve got no money.

It wasn’t even expensive, it was like 50 dollars or something but that was quite a lot. And I went back to the shop three or four times and every time I looked at that and tried on and I was like oh, I don’t know but I really like it but that was sort of my last money. Then I hid it, you know like on the rack but behind the other clothes (laughs).

And then I ended up going back and buying it. I’ve just worn it heaps. The elbows went through about eighteen months to two years ago now... It sort [gives me more freedom to move] I sort of forget that I’ve got a hole in them and then something touches me and it’s cold and I am like oh yeah, that’s right, I’ve got a hole. And people will go like, ‘did you know you’ve got a huge hole in your elbow?’ And they’ve obviously got bigger over the time and you will reach something up the top cupboard and you realize, ‘Crrr’, it makes a little rip noise and… I guess [I have got pointy elbows], more pointy than some people. Although I haven’t really noticed any rippage like this before [in any other garments] I don’t know if I did a lot of writing or something my first year of Uni or something, or eating on the table, you know.

Wellington, New Zealand - April 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young