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.

Useful, handy, intriguing

“This cardigan I wear almost every day when it’s cold because it’s really useful and handy. It belonged to my mother’s uncle’s wife who died of cancer a few years ago. I got it from her husband, my mother’s uncle gave me a lot of her clothes. So he said I could just come and pick up stuff like six months after she died, that was like really strange event. I saw her the day before she died and the next time I went to that house there was just a pile of clothes... 

I never really thought about her and her relationship to clothes. She was very skinny and pretty but she didn’t dress to emphasise that. She wasn’t someone I remember as like this amazingly well dressed person. She was very average and its something I kind of only thought about afterwards… Like this cardigan, the buttons are like this [plain grey] but inside there’s a button that’s a pearly one. So I don’t know if she’s changed them to look more simple. Or why the extra button is different.

I actually like it [the cardigan] too much so I put these patches on and I had to sew these up because they were so thin. I don’t know how much longer it will last…”

London - December 2012
Photograph by Tim Mitchell

+ More views from this story