Local Wisdom, Kate Fletcher, Timo Rissanen, Parsons The New School for Design, Center for Sustainable Fashion, New York, New York City, London, London College of Fashion, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style


Nearly 30 percent of the average person’s closet sits unused and unworn for at least a year, resulting in $50 billion worth of neglected garments going to waste, according to Fletcher. A growing number of iconoclasts, however, are eschewing the fast-fashion lifestyle for “alternative fashion experiences,” including clothing swaps and inventive alterations, to “champion the craft of use above the constant thrill of purchase.”

A growing number of iconoclasts have decided to champion the craft of use above the constant thrill of purchase.

These are the people Fletcher wants to talk to. “This project celebrates the people who are finding riches and abundance within the limits of the stuff they already own,” she says. “In tough economic times many are questioning whether our thirst for material goods is actually making us happy. Evidence suggests that it can actually undermine our capacity to enjoy them, so the challenge explored by Local Wisdom is how to pace consumption rather than maximize it.”

New Yorkers will soon get a chance to make fashion history. On Saturday, January 26, Local Wisdom will hold court at Parsons The New School of Design. The project’s request is simple: Bring your favorite garment to the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., tell team members the history of its use, and allow yourself to be photographed wearing the item (changing facilities will be provided).

“This groundbreaking project investigates how people use clothes, then harnesses this knowledge to drive fashion design,” Timo Rissanen, assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons, explains. “While we have in many ways reached the limit in terms of the economic and environmental costs of fashion, there are no limits to the levels of enjoyment and satisfaction it can bring us. Uncovering the somewhat invisible craft of clothing use allows new kinds of engagement between producers and consumers of fashion.”

Need another dose of inspiration? Peruse the pictures and stories from a recent photo shoot in London.

Local Wisdom
Saturday, January 26
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design
2 West 13th St., New York, NY 10011

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