Most of us are familiar with – and highly prize – the craft or expert skill of making things, like garments. We value the expert’s touch honed over years of training and a process of constant refinement of technique necessary to create superior pieces. But makers don’t have a monopoly on quality craft practices. For there is also craft involved of using garments well. The ‘Craft of Use’, just like a producer’s, involves skill, ingenuity and requires practice to perfect it. Yet unlike producer-based activities, it typically needs little money or materials to make it happen, instead increasing the quality of people’s fashion experience within the limits of the clothes they already have. This craftsmanship is rarely acknowledged and never makes it on to catwalks or business agendas, yet it has potential to promote self-reliance and a more satisfying and engaged use of resources, dynamically contributing to the fashion and sustainability agenda.
Local Wisdom is an on-going project that explores the ‘Craft of Use’ and offers a vision of a new type of prosperity in fashion that is not based on buying and selling more garments. It gathers stories and images of the general public at community photo shoots and provides a platform for these practices to flourish and inspire other users and the design and production community.