Recap: “Local Wisdom” Sustainable Fashion Event

Posted on: February 4th, 2013 at 11:12 am by
Kate Fletcher, conducting interviews for "Local Wisdom" at Parsons the New School for Design. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Kate Fletcher, conducting interviews for “Local Wisdom” at Parsons. Photo: Lori Greenberg

A number of New Yorkers braved the frigid temperatures last week, garment bags in tow, to participate in a project called “Local Wisdom.”

Held at Parsons the New School for Design, the project investigates “The Craft of Use” by conducting interviews and photo shoots all over the world about the way we look at and value our clothing.

Our favorite sweater of the day, worn by Timo Rissanen, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Our favorite sweater of the day, worn with Vivenne Westwood pants, on Timo Rissanen, Asst Prof. of Fashion Design and Sustainability. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Participants are asked to bring a favorite garment and/or accessory with them and discuss why it is special to them. (This reporter, who is a rabid vintage collector, had a tough time choosing one garment, but ultimately brought a vintage coat from the early 1960s, which was covered in fashion illustrations.) The hope is that these stories will inspire others to think twice about what they are consuming and wearing, including the design and production community.

A "random" participant, in a vintage 1960s coat. Photo: Ellinor Stigle

A “random” participant, in a vintage 1960s coat. Photo: Ellinor Stigle (used with permission from Local Wisdom and Ellinor Stigle).

The Local Wisdom project was started in 2009 by Dr. Kate Fletcher, a London-based author, consultant and educator who specializes in “Slow Fashion” and sustainability. The project, which has since spread across three continents, explores resourceful practices in our relationships to clothing. In the past year, the project has held seven community photo shoots at universities all over the world, including Parsons the New School for Design.

Kate Fletcher, right, admiring a garment with a story. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Kate Fletcher, right, admiring a garment with a story. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Parsons’ downtown location provided a perfect setting for the event, enabling passers-by to get a good glimpse of the photo shoots through the street level gallery windows on lower Fifth Avenue. The school was a perfect fit with Local Wisdom, as the findings from this shoot – and other stories on the website – will be utilized by students to analyze what they, as future leaders of the fashion industry, will eventually produce and put out into the world.

Photographer Ellinor Stigle in action, in the Parsons window on Fifth Avenue. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Photographer Ellinor Stigle in action, in the Parsons window on Fifth Avenue. Photo: Lori Greenberg

Fletcher has referred to the staggering statistic that every man, woman and child now buys more than 81 pounds of textiles every year, and 56 of those pounds end up in the landfill. In a world of “fast fashion” (i.e., chain stores which produce cheaply made clothing, often under unethical working situations in factories overseas), it was inspiring to hear the participants’ stories and to observe how much they connected with what they wore. Items ranged from a vintage metallic dress to a vibrant sweater boasting a knit image of the comic book character “The Phantom,” which this reporter was quite tempted to run off with. But despite playing to the “reuse” aspect of the project, it really wouldn’t have been received very well. So, we had to behave.

For more information, check out the Local Wisdom website.

Recent Stories

we-the-people-manny-cantor
Educational Alliance Targets Hate Speech and Crimes with New ‘We the People’ Mural

As a means to combat the recent spike in hate speech and hate crimes, a new mural is coming to the Lower East Side, and with it, the launching of a new “for-the-people” initiative. The Educational Alliance has devised a “We the People” initiative, which intends to promote inclusiveness, and protect people from offensive words and actions, as […]

Photo: Photobucket
Bronx Graffiti Writer ‘NEAR KGB’ Dies

The graffiti community lost another one of its own this week. Bronx-based graff writer NEAR KGB (i.e. “Kings Getting Busy”) died on January 14. Another tragic loss to what?  We don’t know. A reader sent in the following message and suspects that drugs may have played a part. This has not been verified, though: Sadly […]

vapeology-orchard
Where Vaping Previously Failed, ‘Vapeology’ Smokes up 166 Orchard Street

Meet the new tenant at 166 Orchard Street. Same as the old. Well, almost. Six months after the departure of Vapeya from the retail landscape, something called Vapeology just moved down from upstate. It’s been open for a few weeks now. The interior looks basically identical to its predecessor – an L-shaped glass bar backed […]

55hester-gallery-essex
The Essex Street Gallery Moves to 55 Hester, Joins ‘Art Strike’ Against Trump’s Inauguration

The Essex Street Gallery is returning home. For the last five years, the showroom held court on Eldridge Street, having been forced from its namesake. And it’s happening just in time for a coordinated “gallery strike” against Trump’s inauguration. Moving to 55 Hester Street, formerly home to the Tracy Williams gallery, provided a massive opportunity […]

Seward Park Library, Jan. 2015
Preservation and Celebration with the ‘Lower East Side Oral History Project’

The New York Public Library’s Lower East Side Oral History Project is officially up and running. And ready to celebrate. The recently-launched neighborhood history project aims to document and preserve LES history through the eyes of its inhabitants. The locals. You know, not the droves who hole up in Hell Square on the weekends. Community volunteers have been trained to […]