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

Intensive Use

Some garments are worn almost daily. They become both a backdrop to - and practical facilitator of - our lives and reflect true resourcefulness. Their features speak of an ethic of extended iterative use.

Quality endures

“This black fur coat I bought…it was a long time ago…about seven years ago from a second hand shop in Iceland. The mentality towards fur is very different in Scandinavia, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Scandinavia or Nordic countries… and so it’s always a bit strange to come back to London because I realise that the perception is very different. But it was of pretty good quality when I got it. I’ve had it fixed professionally twice I think, ‘cause it had holes… and I’ve also done my own repairs on things like the silk lining and the pockets because I kept leaving coins and keys into the jacket. I’ve had other winter coats, but it’s the one that’s just… I’ve always worn it every single winter… others just don’t do the job anymore…

I often have to explain it to people, why I choose to wear it… I would never go and commission a brand new fur coat but these things have been sort of sitting around in grandmothers’ cupboards and things. They last for such a long time… [if I compare it] to one of these big arctic goose down jackets, which I’ve had it for three years and the padding’s gone down, it’s not as warm as it used to be, it’s fraying on the edges. Whereas this one, it frays a little bit at the edges but I still wear it. If they’re made really well and you look after them, you get them repaired if they get holes in them you then you can use them for fifteen twenty years, or even longer.”

London - December 2012
Photograph by Tim Mitchell