The clothes we wear and have worn throughout our lives, provide more than just a visual snapshot of an era. Regardless of fashions and trends, certain items of clothing are ingrained in our memory (maybe even in a box under the bed) and are woven full of recollections of a moment, a day, or perhaps an entire phase of our life.
Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them. -Marc Jacobs
As children, we had little say in what we wore and where it came from, but our clothes already formed part of the story of our lives. The worn-out lines on the knees of your favourite corduroys, velvet pedal-pushers with tiny gold buttons (carefully selected from the button jar), a yellow hand-knitted jumper with a pouch pocket and pixie hood, a polka dot bikini with ruffles….Who knew you could feel so glamourous at 5 years old?
Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends. -Kate Spade
Leg-warmers made on the knitting machine (remember those?) and highly flammable nighties, tucking the edges away from the bar heater while you scorched the bottom of your socks. Full circle skirts edged with ric rac for dancing class that made your mum swear while she sewed. The thrill of a birthday dress, and bigger thrill of unwrapping a matching one for your barbie made from the leftover fabric. In fact, matching anything. With your siblings with dutiful resignation, but with your friends was the ultimate bonding fashion dream. Having matching “buddy-buddy” t-shirts with my primary school bestie means she types “Happy birthday Buddy Buddy” on my Facebook page more than 30 years later. Even though I haven’t seen her in real life for more than two decades. That is the power of a simple t-shirt.
High school, teen years and body awareness bring a raft of clothing implications. Embarrassing PE uniforms, hitched-up school skirts, coveted label jeans and the ‘right’ brand of sneakers. School formal dresses and the hours and hours of agonising over which one to choose. A whole new raft of firsts, from kisses to bras to broken hearts, not necessarily in that order.
Anyone who has backpacked has experienced cheap singlets, sarongs, bandanas, cargo pants and hiking sandals along with backpacks, friendship bracelets and clove cigarettes. Silk shirts made in South East Asia that were such a bargain, although often did not translate well back into post-travel-life. Most of these clothes barely survived the journey, but there are hundreds of travel photos (in a box under the bed) to remind you.
The outfit you wore to your first job interview. The first time you wore a boyfriend’s t-shirt to bed. How often did you keep the favourite t-shirt longer than the boy?
The clothes we have worn on our bodies help tell our story, something that we don’t always realise or appreciate at the time. That’s why we find it so hard to part with certain items, because it’s like discarding part of our history or the narrative of our own lives. But there is only so much room under the bed…
Sometimes it’s time to make space and let someone else have a turn. Vintage shops are filled with racks heaving with stories of past lives. Op-shopping is more than just a treasure-hunt. Being willing to part with things we don’t need, and fill any wardrobe gaps with pre-loved pieces, does more than make our lives richer and more interesting. It supports a circular economy model and all the benefits that come with it.
In practice where using biodegradable materials is not possible, the circular economy calls for non-organic materials to be given a new life in the production cycle. This means finding ways to create new and useful products from these existing materials.
By upcycling vintage leather jackets, we embrace being part of that process. We are mindful of our materials and processes. We reinvent pre-loved jackets to ensure they continue to be used and be useful. We want to ensure these discarded pieces, imbued with history and memories, stay relevant and continue to collect stories and live colourful lives. Our bags are made to embody this approach and reflect our core values. We transform vintage leather into beautiful, functional timeless pieces that anyone can use or wear. Time and time again.
Photo by @anniespratt via Unsplash