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.

Optimum scuff

“I bought these shoes when I was sixteen. It took me a long time to get them this scuffed. And when I was about a year into having them and they’d just got to the optimum point, I came down one morning and my dad said ‘I’ve polished your shoes for you!’ And I was like, ‘oh you are having a laugh’. And I had actually broken my toe – ‘cause they’re steel toe [caps] – and I just started kicking lampposts trying to break them in. Yeah so I’m 37 now, had them since 16…the longest relationship I’ve ever had.”

Dublin - April 2012
Photograph by Des Moriarty