You may have heard it said that then most ecological car to drive is a used car, because it doesn’t have to be manufactured. The same concept goes for clothing. Wearing vintage clothing clothing means you are bypassing the manufacturing process, plus older pieces are often better-made and long-lasting -and is probably made of natural materials to boot! Lynda Grose is a pioneer of sustainable fashion, and the author of the book Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change. She’s also a fan of vintage clothing.
To assess how to make clothing people will hold onto for years, Grose, her colleagues, and students look at “emotional durability.” “We all have garments in our wardrobes that we’ve kept a long time,” Grose says. “And why is that? It’s often because it reminds you of a person like your mother or a time or an experience you had. Steven Skov Holt at our college talks about ‘sensory empathy,’ meaning that there’s something about it that appeals to the senses, whether it feels good or it’s a finish, or it grows with the user. For example, leather gathers a patina, so it gets better over time. Denim gets faded over time, and it even takes in the patterns of use that you have, like my husband’s back-left pocket has the markings of his wallet. It might be the markings of your keys, or certain whiskering because of the shape of your body. They’re very particular to you, and that develops this kind of empathy with you and your garments. So how can we design things that evolve with the person over time?”
Collectors Weekly talked to Grose and several other proponents of vintage fashions about fashion and the “green” business of used clothing.
(Image credit: Pendarvis Harshaw)