Research: Kate Fletcher's Local Wisdom

Garments are sold to us as products, yet we live them as a process.

Over the last two years the Local Wisdom project has been shining a light on the unseen, unsung processes and practices of clothes' uses.

The project frames the use of clothes as interdependent with their design and brings the experience and creative actions associated with the use of clothes into direct connection with the process of design. Many of these creative actions are materially efficient and reflect a self-confidence and skillfulness of the public to develop personal and authentic fashion responses. Thus Local Wisdom enters a research space which reflects social and cultural values of fashion alongside ecological limits. It offers one possible route to engaging with fashion, in a world where the economic logic of growth is less dominant and to finesse the way we consume, to bring opportunities to flourish and thrive through our daily actions with clothes.

Local Wisdom was conceived by Dr Kate Fletcher and is based within the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. Through an ethnographic process encapsulated at community photoshoots, Local Wisdom identifies the individual and collective habits and practices that bring this ‘craft of use’ to life. Now an international fashion research project, these 'use practices' are then the basis and inspiration for design projects in seven centres of high fashion consumption spread across three continents, in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.