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.

Product test bed

"This actually from my line and this was the first sample we ever did of this particular jacket and I kind of like it because there are various things on it that are wrong which means that they’ve been fixed. For instance, when it came to getting samples out it was a bit of a rush, the dye didn’t work properly, the wrong rivets were used… and so we had to change the them back and it made all kinds of trouble and [replacing them] ripped [the jacket] all up… so I had to sell from a ripped sample. But then afterwards we fixed it, which was kind of nice. And I’m just getting some new buttons done so this is a ox horn button, made in a factory which has been doing it since 1750 and so that then gets sewed onto something I’m wearing just to see how that fits in a button hole, that kind of thing. So it’s got, kind of, experimentations going on and this was the first process."

London - March 2011
Photograph by Kerry Dean