International stories of sentimental garments

We’ve all got sentimental attachment to specific pieces of clothing. Maybe we found a gem at a second hand store and it fits you just right, or it was really expensive and we can’t let it go. Whatever the reason sentimental attachment to garments bring us pleasure by triggering a deep emotional response–by the way they feel, look or smell.

Local wisdom an international fashion research project, four years running, is getting at the heart of what makes a garment sentimental and the stories behind them. Started by sustainable fashion legend, Kate Fletcher, Local wisdom gathers stories and images from the public of how people use their clothes–ranging from pieces they inherited from their great-uncles closet to fur coats purchased from second hand stores. You can browse their gallery of images and read stories collected.

1355838060.75.C21c 72dpi 460wide.large “This jacket was made out of three materials I think and was a sample… I didn’t buy it, a friend gave to me. She was working for a company in Germany and she thought it was perfect for me so she saved it for me and then gave it to me as a present. Its something quite intimate that someone knows you so well and that makes you connect to them even more. And it makes you connect to the piece as well. She’s got a good eye for what suits people. And I just treasure it because it’s so odd, it has all these quirky folds. And I kind of like it even more because of it reminds me of her just as much as it reminds me of what I like about fashion…” London – December 2012 Photograph by Tim Mitchell

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“This jacket is second hand, super well-kept. Just feel the wool… it’s amazing. It wasn’t that expensive. I’ve been wearing it like every second day since I got it. And it’s the best shape of anything I’ve ever had. So I love it. You know the funny thing is, it’s kind of short. You know the woman it was sold for was much shorter than me I’m sure. During the Winter I was wearing it with long gloves…”

Oslo – March 2012
Photograph by Kristin von Hirsch




1349562259.97.SF12 72dpi 500 width.large “These are a very plain black pair of boots but they’re very special to me… I have been wearing them for the last 6 and a half years. They’re almost dying because I use them for every purpose. I use them as a regular shoe on a regular day to go to work or to go shopping or for going out at night; even for Burning Man festival. I keep on polishing and repairing them. What makes them special for me is that not only that they’re comfortable and also that they’re black makes them go with everything but they’re very similar to a pair of shoes that I remember my grandmother wore when I was a little kid. I was a very girly kid. My mom wasn’t really into fashion. She never wore make-up, whereas my grandmother was very fashionable, she had lots of make-up, I was very into that when I was a kid. I used to go their house every weekend and when I was there I’d spend all day going into her wardrobe, trying on this and that my feet were small, so they wouldn’t fit properly. There were these black boots, which I would put on the moment I got into their house and of course when I left I had to take them off. As time passes by, I realize little by little that my appreciation of certain garments stems from my childhood memories. …And my grandma had this big wardrobe with all these decades with traces and impressions of years passed.” San Francisco – July 2012 Photograph by Paige Green


1356103704.3.C13d 72dpi 460wide.large “This cardigan I wear almost every day when it’s cold because it’s really useful and handy. It belonged to my mother’s uncle’s wife who died of cancer a few years ago. I got it from her husband, my mother’s uncle gave me a lot of her clothes. So he said I could just come and pick up stuff like six months after she died, that was like really strange event. I saw her the day before she died and the next time I went to that house there was just a pile of clothes… I never really thought about her and her relationship to clothes. She was very skinny and pretty but she didn’t dress to emphasize that. She wasn’t someone I remember as like this amazingly well dressed person. She was very average and its something I kind of only thought about afterwards… Like this cardigan, the buttons are like this [plain grey] but inside there’s a button that’s a pearly one. So I don’t know if she’s changed them to look more simple. Or why the extra button is different. I actually like it [the cardigan] too much so I put these patches on and I had to sew these up because they were so thin. I don’t know how much longer it will last…” London – December 2012 Photograph by Tim Mitchell


1356101629.81.C2a alt.large “This used to be jeans. It is a skirt now. …[When it was] trousers, I was at a music festival and I fell down and broke my leg…. My housemate drove me to hospital. They had to cut the leg [off the jeans] to put me in a cast so they were completely damaged. I was really bummed out about ‘cause they were really great jeans and I’m really funny about jeans… I found them in the charity shop by chance… So after a few months I turned them into a skirt and I hand stitched some song lyrics on it. I really wanted to get a tattoo but I felt that it would be too much. But then I thought I would just have it on my clothing because it’s almost like that would be there forever and it feels almost like, for me, getting a tattoo ‘cause it will stay on your favorite piece of clothing. And ever since them I’ve been hand stitching some lyrics on my favorite clothing…” London – December 2012 Photograph by Tim Mitchell

Is there a garment you are particularly attached to? What’s your story? Share it in the comment section below.

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