Rather than continually making more clothes using more materials, there should be a greater emphasis on how clothes can be lived with, tended and used. The Professor of Sustainability, Design and Fashion at University of the Arts London presents an inspiring manifesto for satisfaction and resourcefulness in the fashion industry.
With huge delight I can announce that the much anticipated book the Craft of Use: Post-Growth Fashion is now published! It features many of the stories of using clothes gathered as part of the Local Wisdom project along with work from seven international teams of designers and specially commissioned work from fashion photography Kerry Dean.
Follow the link below to listen here to my interview about the Craft of Use and long lasting garments with Jenni Murray for Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, broadcast on 21st April 2014. The conversation included Melanie Rickey, one of the founding editors of Grazia Magazine and chair of a recent discussion on fashion and sustainability at the 2014 Women of the World Festival on London’s South Bank.
The day-long Craft of Use event at London College of Fashion marking the culmination of the latest phase of research on the Local Wisdom project, passed by in a whirlwind of performance theatre, presentations, interactive workshops, sound installation, discussion and poetry by the remarkable Sabrina Mahfouz written for and on the day. The writer and design thinker John Thackara commented about the event that, “It felt as if a huge, immobile mass (the inevitability of growth and destruction) was creaking and cracking as if ready to fall away…”. And for Avner Offer, Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History at University of Oxford, it was “deeply satisfying… to be immersed in so much joy. Beyond expectations: an oasis of creativity and concern.”
A summary of the day will be available soon. And the Craft of Use book will be published by Routledge in 2015.
The next few months look set to be varied and dynamic… I’m currently working on an edited book for the prestigious Routledge Handbook Series (thank you to all the fabulous contributors); the Local Wisdom project exploring the ‘Craft of Use‘ is deep in its synthesis phase; I’m figuring out a whole new direction to my work that has evolved after the sailing trip to the Western Isles, thinking about the natural history of garments; and I’ve been reading really eclectically… currently “Arctic Dreams” by Barry Lopez…
A massive thank you to all those who shared stories of how they use their garments in Wellington and Melbourne over the last few weeks as part of the Local Wisdom project. And of course huge appreciation to the teams working at Massey in New Zealand led by Holly McQuillan and Jen Whitty and at RMIT in Australia co-ordinated by Jo Cramer. Photos and stories from both places available on the Local Wisdom website within the month… here’s a taster of some of the Wellington images, photography by Aliscia Young.
The knowledge, skills and ideas of the Craft of Usehave a new platform on the web!
The Craft of Use explores resourceful garment use practices as one way to challenge the dependency of the fashion industry on increasing material throughput. Its proposition is that sustained attention to tending and using garments, we can create an alternative set of experiences of fashion provision and consumption.
They are the spiritual and intellectual home – the ‘mothership’ – of some of my other work in design for sustainability, most notably the Local Wisdomproject.
The Local Wisdom project returns to London on 5th December 2012 to take photographs and gather more stories of the ‘craft of use’ of the general public. We’ll be at the Carnaby Book Exchange in Kingly Court (between Regent Street and Carnaby Street) between midday and 7pm. Please come along and share with us how you use clothes and get your portait taken in your piece! More on the London photoshoot including exact location and categories listing the sort of things we are looking for can be found here.