“Good ideas happen everywhere and often involve creative acts with the things around us, like our clothes. These creative actions and ideas are rarely acknowledged and never make it onto catwalks or business agendas, yet we think they have the potential to help solve some of the problems we face as a global community.” (Fletcher 2009)

Kate Fletcher’s Local Wisdom project captured the ideas and actions of the local community. Acknowledging that creative ideas may occur with very little money or materials, the Local Wisdom project celebrates this plethora of ‘ingenuity and free-thinking’ (Fletcher 2009).

While the fashion industry continues to manufacture products at a fast pace, most people seem to retain particular items of clothing that have special meaning and/or purpose. These items may be reworked, well worn or perhaps may have been passed down through generations; or perhaps they simply hold happy or treasured memories. Whatever the reason, the majority of our community is involved in a creative act that helps save on resources, shapes our identity and has the potential to inspire.


A life of action

“I call this my three stage jacket. It began about forty years ago as a very slim waistcoat that was given to me. I knitted a panel and put it into the back just to be able to fasten it together at the front, you see. And then about fifteen years ago I added sleeves and a collar and some trimmings. And then, only about five years ago, I became a bit too big to button it up so I added latchets across to the front so that I can fasten it.”

Garments can be reworked to meet changing needs. The knowledge and skills that make this possible enrich and embolden society. They remind us about ingenuity and help substitute consumption for action.

Image: Kate Fletcher, Local Wisdom project, 2009 Credits: All photographs by Fiona Bailey. With grateful thanks to all the volunteer participants in both Totnes and Bollington (UK) and to Fiona Bailey, Jemima Penny, Emma Rigby, Lucy Batchelor, Toni Spencer, Jane Bryant and Harriet Rogers. Local Wisdom was funded by University of the Arts, London.

Website: http://www.katefletcher.com/

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