Illustrated Mountains

Local Wisdom

Local Wisdom combines ethnographic research methods with design process.


May 15, 2020, 11:44:41 PM

Emily Pham


Local Wisdom is a project originated by Dr Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. Started in 2009, Local Wisdom is now generously funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

The project, which links together a network of partners and design activity in seven centres of high fashion consumption spread across three continents, explores satisfying and resourceful practices associated with using clothes. This ‘craft of use’ aims to challenge the dependency of the fashion industry on increasing material throughput and propose solutions through sustained attention to tending and using garments and not just creating them.

Local Wisdom combines ethnographic research methods with design process. It gathers stories and images from the public of how people use their clothes at community photo shoots. These use practices are then the basis and inspiration for design projects in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand which aim to amplify these practices and explore their integration into larger programmes or original business models. Frequently Asked Questions

The sorts of stories we're looking for include, among other things, a garment that:

Is easily repairable
Is shared between people
Is enjoying a third, fourth or fifth life
Surprises you each time you wear it
Shows or tells the story of how it has been used
Is worn in ways that defy the producer’s values
Is worn regularly and has never been washed (and isn't leather!)
Is made up of interchangeable pieces that can be worn in different ways
Connect you to others
Is worn in response to changing economic and environmental concerns
Is adapted over and again in order to meet changing needs

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