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.

Indigo splatter

"I’ve a little jeans brand and I do hand-dying with natural dyes and this is a t-shirt that I rejected. I didn’t ever do any kind of logo stuff but I had a few of them and I was never going to use them so I wore one when I was indigo dyeing and I got some spots on it and it started looking quite cool. And then when you’re dyeing a pair of jeans – when you’re dyeing anything with indigo – it’s an oxidisation process so you have to make sure air gets into, all over the garment. So you’re hanging it up on the washing line and you’re kind of shaking it towards yourself, and I was wearing a white t-shirt and you get indigo splatters everywhere and it started to look really nice so I, kind of, decided that this was going to be a nice thing to do so I then wore the same t-shirt over a couple of dyeing sessions and ended up with splashes all over it. And you know, you’ve got blue on your hands so you rub your hands on your back and then you get handprints on them. "

London - March 2011
Photograph by Kerry Dean