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

Skills of resourcefulness

Creative activists contribute greatly to society through innovation and experiment, taking on projects that fail to hit the radar of conventional industry. Their work is a training ground for new practices, for trialling novel approaches and reviving old skills that promote alternative ideas about fashion provision and consumption.

Special things come second hand

"What I am wearing today is nothing new and possibly a family affair, the skirt that I am wearing was once a ‘house coat’ - but it was in my mom’s wardrobe for a long time, and I was thought it was so glamorous, but when I put it on I did feel like I was wearing a dressing gown so I’ve done a very crude chopping off of the top. I am not a great sewer so... pins, and buttons, but it’s is a beautiful cotton. Yes, it’s lost the button, it’s lost a few things. (laughs)

My boots were hand me down from my sister, who I believe bought them at a vintage store and loved them, but were just a little bit too big, and she curses the fact that I have bigger feet than her. And this is a fantastic spotted silk top that I found in a local vintage store and I don’t know why but I was very impressed that it was made in Italy (laughs). It’s just that European style that us Australian’s crave. It might be a pre-conceived notion of how things are made now, but I love the idea that things were possibly made on a smaller scale and with more care, and better quality, from a time when people really loved and wore and used their clothes in a different way. So you sort of feel like you are keeping that going to a certain extent.

So I guess how I wear these clothes is all the time, I love full long skirts and I just can’t get over how much pleasure from second hand clothes over new clothes. They give a lot of happiness… My first experience of what I thought was glamour was going to the Inglewood Op Shop, which was in the little town near where I grew up. And we would buy the negligees and there were full-length dresses on my sister and I as little girls. And we would be running round the farm in gumboots and negligees tied in knots and we just thought we were so incredible. So for me, special things really came from second-hand shops from a young age."

Melbourne - March 2013
Photograph by Paul Allister