Local Wisdom: an uncommon community photo shoot
A photo-shoot that is anything but typical; the models aren’t cast from agencies, but rather, are volunteers of the public and the clothes aren’t for sale, but for storytelling.
Local Wisdom, an international fashion research project with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion; aims to use the interviews and photos they produce not for spreads in a magazine, but to challenge the fashion industry and the way people think about the clothes they wear and buy.
The project – originated in 2009 by Dr Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion – is an initiative to bring members of the community together to discuss and photograph articles of clothing that are worth more to them than any amount of money. This photo-shoot goes behind the scenes, literally, to express that there is much more to clothing than what meets the eye.
“This project celebrates the people who are finding riches and abundance within the limits of the stuff they already own. In tough economic times, many are questioning whether our thirst for material goods is actually making us happy. Evidence suggests that it can actually undermine our capacity to enjoy them, so the challenge explored by Local Wisdom is how to pace consumption rather than maximise it,” Fletcher said.
Too much clothing and ultimately, money, goes to waste in closets and dressers each year. The project is more than capturing a beautiful story that extends from clothing shared between people, to an article that defies the producer’s values. Local Wisdom aims to understand the ways people use and view their clothes while, simultaneously, encouraging alternative fashion experiences such as clothes-swapping and becoming one’s own seamstress in order to create a change within fashion.
According to Local Wisdom’s website, it is a program designed to send a message that will: “challenge the dependency of the fashion industry on increasing material throughout and propose solutions through sustained attention to tending and using garments and not just creating them”.
On 25th January, Local Wisdom partnered with Parsons The New School for Design and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion to present a shoot at their New York campus.
These community photo shoots combine ethnographic research methods with design process that ultimately become the basis and inspiration for other design projects in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. The project will be visiting Vancouver, Melbourne and London in 2014.
For more information about Local Wisdom, click here.