Public Invited to Participate in Sustainable Fashion Photo Shoot and Storytelling Event

local wisdom image

Kolding, Denmark - September 2012. Photograph by Jens Christian

Local Wisdom
Saturday, January 26, 10 am – 4 pm
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design
2 West 13th Street, New York

NEW YORK, January 21, 2013—Parsons The New School for Design and the Center for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion have partnered to present LOCAL WISDOM, a project intended to change the way the public thinks about, buys and wears fashion.

In an average household, 30 percent of a person’s wardrobe sits unused and unworn for at least a year, resulting in a massive $50 billion worth of unloved garments going to waste. However, a growing number of people are bucking the fast fashion trend and investing in alternative fashion experiences—from clothes swapping, to reworking garments with scissors and thread to create something new—that champion the craft of use above the constant thrill of purchase.

LOCAL WISDOM will invite members of the public to bring important pieces from their wardrobe to the Parsons campus for a community photo shoot, where the organizers will gather unique and moving stories about how people use and care for their clothing—unearthing the stories behind the clothes and the people that live in the global fashion capital that is New York City. In addition to New York, the project will be visiting cities around the world including Vancouver, Melbourne, London, through 2014.

“This groundbreaking project investigates how people use clothes, then harnesses this knowledge to drive fashion design,” said Timo Rissanen, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability at Parsons. “While we have in many ways reached the limit in terms of the economic and environmental costs of fashion, there are no limits to the levels of enjoyment and satisfaction it can bring us. Uncovering the somewhat invisible craft of clothing use allows new kinds of engagement between producers and consumers of fashion.”

LOCAL WISDOM was conceived in 2009 by  Dr. Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, and has already interviewed hundreds of people about their very personal relationships with their most treasured garments: “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 maximize it.”

LOCAL WISDOM is open to the public age 16 and over; changing facilities will be provided. For more information, please contact Timo Rissanen on or Local Wisdom on

Local Wisdom is an international fashion research project exploring the 'craft of use.' It is based within the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. The project, which links together a network of partners and design activity in seven centres of high fashion consumption spread across three continents, explores satisfying and resourceful practices associated with using clothes. This ‘craft of use’ aims to challenge the dependency of the fashion industry on increasing material throughput and propose solutions through sustained attention to tending and using garments and not just creating them. Local Wisdom combines ethnographic research methods with design process. It gathers stories and images from the public of how people use their clothes at community photo shoots. These use practices are then the basis and inspiration for design projects in the UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand which aim to amplify these practices and explore their integration into larger programmes or original business models.
Twitter: @CraftOfUse #craftofuse

About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is a global leader in design education, with programs that span the disciplines of design and the fine arts. With the launch of its fashion design program in 1906, Parson is credited with the birth of American fashion. Parson offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design, Associate Degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing, and a Master of Fine Arts Program in Fashion Design and Society that was initiated through the support of Parsons alumna Donna Karan. Parsons has educated generations of leading American fashion designers, including Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, Tracy Reese, Narciso Rodriguez, Anna Sui, Prabal Gurung, Derek Lam, Ohne Titel, Thakoon Panichgul, Proenza Schouler, Vena Cava, Alexander Wang, and Jason Wu.
Twitter: @parsons560 #parsons

# # #


79 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Deborah Kirschner
212.229.5667 x4310

Bookmark and Share