This research project is interested in discussions of well-being and community resilience through the lens of clothing in our lives. I am looking at a number of geographic locations including ones in East London to chart how people's practices to do with how they buy, mend, share, wear and dispose of their clothing play a role in the larger context of sustainability, livability, ecology and strong communities. To give one example, the local haberdashery shop might be one reason people in the surrounding area are able to do small fixes to their clothes but is also used by many fashion design studios to do their sampling, supporting more local business. Such value to the community is rarely tracked. I'm also interested in how the plentiful resources of an area including its green spaces or second hand clothes may change people's clothing behaviours. Linked to this I'm testing how art workshops with activities such as natural dyeing, drawing or quilting might help us understand how people interact with their local area.
These ideas and methods are directly inspired by Kate Fletcher's Fashion Ecologies project and are being undertaken as my PhD research for the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.
The research questions are, "Which elements in local fashion systems contribute to sustainability?" and "How can we support these better?" To answer these questions, over the next year I'll be conducting a broad range of activities, including traditional ethnographic interviews but also creative workshops, walks and art projects that work within communities, with residents, arts organisations and small businesses to understand and express how our clothing is linked to the places we live.
Do you want to contribute to this research? Share stories of your experience of nature in East London by answering a quick questionnaire here and if you'd like take part in a workshops in the future let me know.