designer and researcher

New Year’s resolution

About 6 years ago i pretty much stopped buying new clothes. Well almost – i bought the odd merino thermal to protect me from Wellingtons damp and cold winters – and i bought 2 pairs of jeans, a couple of dresses suitable for ‘maternity me’ and… hmm some underwear and 2 pairs of shoes. Apart from those, everything i have worn for about 6 years is either something that i already owned, something i (rarely) made from fabric i already had (quite the stash), or a hand-me-down from friends. This wasn’t the result of a conscious decision to change my behavior – i really just found it increasingly difficult to go through with the action of buying clothes. I would go shopping with the intention of buying something i genuinely needed but come back empty handed. The moment of exchanging money for goods became loaded with meaning – such as “I am exchanging money to pay for something i am able but unwilling to do myself, and the persom who did labor over this garment was paid far far less than I would be happy to accept for the same job. So I regularly peruse the magical interweb drooling over beautiful garments i LOVE but couldn’t justify buying because of ethical or financial reasons. And the garments i found that fit both budget and ethics were.. um… not my thing. I have a job that requires me to be at least semi-respectably dressed. So I think i need to do something aside from treading fashionable water…

I will mend. Conspicuously.

I own clothing with so many holes etc that it is getting a bit silly. The two Merino thermals i mentioned earlier have holes in the elbows so large that i often accidentally put my forearms through there instead of where they are supposed to go… I tell myself that these garments are never seen so it doesn’t matter – they still keep me warm. Maybe my students think I’m going for a hobo-chic kind of look? I haven’t mended much yet even though I know how. I’ve fixed hems and resewn buttons (though some buttons are held on with a sneaky safety pin), but i haven’t attempted to repair worn through elbows etc. So that will be step one.

I will wear my own designs. Zero-waste ones.

It probably seems strange but i don’t wear my designs – primarily because the pieces ive made to perfection and completion seem to have become for display purposes only – my husband tells me off when i wear them, and i take them off before i leave the house. They just hang in my wardrobe taunting me. The Wolf / Sheep one is going to be in an exhibition in a couple of months so i shouldn’t wear that (as much as i want to)… But what use are my ideas if I don’t (or someone else) wear them? So I’m going to make one new design per fortnight for myself until i’ve filled the rather large gaps in my wardrobe. Things i will wear all the time. A sort of field testing of the work I do. So. I will wear my own designs.

So pretty simple to start with really. I can’t help fearing that perhaps i’m only doing this to fit some sort of expectation of acceptable fashionable dress – that my clothes and wardrobe as they are are totally sufficient and all that is occurring is that I’m getting sucked back into the fashion consumption void… Hmm

First mending project below. This WORLD (NZ) Jacket has been part of my ‘uniform’ for many years now. Super holey elbows. Wish me luck.

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8 responses

  1. Holly, I cannot stop laughing! What is going on with your elbows?!

    January 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

  2. On a more serious note, this is one of my goals too. An urgent one in fact, since my warmest coat is unwearable until I mend it and it’s bloody cold here!

    January 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm

  3. SEO

    Good Article. I’ll look forward to your next piece

    January 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm

  4. robinesque

    I am a big fan of the academic blazer look — the one with nice leather elbow patches — but here, I might try some red felt patches or some other printed and bold patch. Please post photos of the finished results!!

    February 8, 2010 at 3:10 am

  5. I just wanted to express my appreciation a great deal for this indepth site. I have just bookmarked your blog, when can free up some time I am going to have to do some extensive reading of your website. Well back to looking for rock music and fashion

    February 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm

  6. This is the great start reading for me, Must acknowledge you will be a great bloggers I ever noticed.Thank you for writing information.

    March 4, 2010 at 11:18 am

  7. Sandra B

    I am a huge fan of the beautiful mend, and a bigger fan of the almost-but-not-quite -invisible beautiful mend. I recently bought a huge number of saris online. I was told they were Indian silks, but they were very much pre-worn. As I folded and refolded these fabrics, getting to know them, I found an exquisitely hand sewn patch in a polyester chiffon. I just melted. I know abstractly that real people sew the clothes in shops, but it doesn’t show. It wasn’t too hard to feel like the person who repaired the sari had a personality, as if I might have met her once in passing.

    I had been interested in working with zero-waste design before, now it seems disrespectful to discard any of this much cared for fabric.

    April 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

  8. ed

    conspicuous design

    April 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

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