Sustainability can emerge from a wealth of simple interactions. In fashion it has potential to flow not only from the design and production of clothes, but also from the choices all of us make, as users, on a daily basis: how we select, wear, care for and connect with our garments. As such, opportunities to transform the sustainability potential of clothes are widely distributed throughout the population and not just reserved for designers, production managers or the fashion cognoscenti. They happen with each new improvisation, way of wearing and with every service of needle and thread in homes in far-flung corners of every nation; often far away from catwalks or business agendas.
The Local Wisdom
project seeks to recognize and honour a user’s ‘craft’. Such practices often
fall outside industrial or
commercial ideas about what sustainability is or should be, emerging instead
from the culturally embedded ‘wisdoms’ of thrift, domestic provisioning and
care of loved ones, among other things. These acts are the essential
companion to fashion design and production; for designing and using form a
single whole. They
typically need little money or
materials to make them happen; but tap into an abundance of experience,
ingenuity and freethinking. Here an individual’s interests meet with those of
society and nature and create conditions for a more satisfying use of
resources. This project captures and celebrates some of this ‘local wisdom’, giving
it a platform to flourish and inspire.
The images and stories gathered by this project document micro-scale social innovation in fashion. They give expression to differences in power relations, ways of behaving, material status and emotional connection and give us small, specific working prototypes of grassroots change.
Photography: Sean Michael