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.

Started with a home sewing machine

"I bought these jeans about four and half years ago. They were raw denim and I basically wore them non-stop for at least eight months before I first washed them. So that would in time bring a contrast between the indigo dyed brought off naturally and where it hadn’t as much... So they started out a constant indigo right the way through, and over time the natural rubbing off of the dye, it creates that contrast between the light and dark… tram tracks [down the outside leg seam]… honeycombs [behind the knee]… whiskers [in the crotch area].

Then as I continued to wear them every day and travelling overseas through Europe and that sort of thing they eventually started to thin out and rip and by the time I got back to Australia I needed to take them in for repairs. Since then I’ve learned how to sew on my own machines. [My repairing] …has gotten better over the years. I started with a home sewing machine and now I have about five or six industrial machines, press studs, yeah... You spend so much time wearing them in and getting the nice fades and that sort of thing you don’t want to retire them or put them out to pasture. You want to keep repairing them and keep wearing them until they can’t take any more."

Melbourne - March 2013
Photograph by Paul Allister

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