Dr Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion (Photo: Stefan Rother).

Bucking the fast fashion trend


Wellingtonians are invited to wear their favourite items of clothing for a community photo shoot next month. The collective show-and-tell is part of Local Wisdom, a project that organisers say could change the way you think about, buy and wear fashion forever.

On average in the Western world, around 30 per cent of a person’s wardrobe sits unused and unworn for at least a year, resulting in an estimated $50 billion of unloved garments going to waste. The Local Wisdom project involves interviewing people who are bucking the fast fashion trend by personalising clothing, keeping their treasured items for many years, even sharing a dress and covetously passing it around amongst family or friends.

Local Wisdom is the brainchild of Reader in Sustainable Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion in London, Dr Kate Fletcher. In 2009, she started unearthing Londoners’ stories about their clothes. The project has now expanded to cover Vancouver, New York, Melbourne and Wellington. The work is made possible with the support of the British Council, the Leverhulme Trust (a UK charity supporting research and education), and institutions such as Massey University.

The key Local Wisdom event in each city is a community photo shoot, where people share unique, often emotional, stories about how they use and care for their clothing. The Wellington event also includes a free two-day workshop, exploring solutions to the problem of “Too Many Clothes!” and an evening panel discussion (Details below).

Organisers plan two further community events in Wellington towards the middle of this year. 

“We don’t eat clothes, but in the West many of us behave like we do,” Lecturer in Fashion at Massey University, Holly McQuillan says. “Some chain stores update their stock weekly, so your clothes are out-of-date almost as soon as you walk out of the shop. In tough economic times many are questioning whether our thirst for material goods is actually making us happy. We need to explore how to pace consumption rather than maximise it.”

“Local Wisdom explores alternative ways to enjoy fashion that champion the ‘craft of use’ above the constant thrill of purchase. Unlike other design disciplines, fashion has not traditionally looked at how people use items after they buy them, so the Local Wisdom project also challenges fashion designers to think about how to design and produce clothes that bring satisfaction and joy over time without a constant drive to buy more.”

Local Wisdom Wellington Event Details:

Community Photoshoot

What: Bring along your favourite clothing for a community photoshoot, and share its story
Date: Saturday March 16, 2013
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Location: Level D, Block 12 Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University, College of Creative Arts, Wellington. Entrance C off Wallace St.
https://www.facebook.com/LocalWisdomWgtn Open to the public, age 16 and over only
Changing facilities provided
Nearest Transport: Bus route: 1, 3, 10, 11, 22, 23, 43, 44

Workshop (Free)

What: A two-day workshop where we explore solutions to the problem of “Too Many Clothes!”, through discussion, thinking and hands-on activities
Date: Friday March 15 and Saturday March 16
Time: 9am – 4pm
Location: Level D, Block 12 Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University, College of Creative Arts, Wellington.
Entrance C off Wallace St.
Register: register@localwisdomwgtn.info

Panel Discussion

What: Panel Discussion with international sustainable fashion guru Dr Kate Fletcher
Date: Saturday March 16
Time: 5pm onwards
Location: Alex’s house, Newtown (more details when you register)
Register: register@localwisdomwgtn.info

For more information contact:
Holly McQuillan, Massey University Fashion Lecturer and Local Wisdom Wellington Lead Investigator: (04) 801 5799 ext 62447, h.l.mcquillan@massey.ac.nz


Facebook: TheCraftOfUse; LocalWisdomWGTN
Twitter: @CraftOfUse #craftofuse @LocalWisdomWGTN #localwisdomwgtn

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