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30 Wears: Emma Johnson-Gilbert

30 Wears Interview: Fashion Revolution

My #30Wears garment is a jacket which belonged to my mother. One of my most lasting images of my mother is that she always changed for dinner. Often that just meant changing her top and putting this jacket over whatever she was already wearing. It might well be 70 years old, but it is in perfect condition. One of the pockets has been repaired at some point but the lining hasn't even faded. 

 

10 years ago I bought a MaxMara coat which cost the earth. I felt very guilty at the time but I've worn it practically every day since then. It has a fur trim which you can attach to the collar and cuffs in the winter and remove for the summer so it can be worn all year round.

 

I'd like to see design become a bit cleverer. But I suppose if you create something which can be worn in 10 different ways then you'd sell less. 

 

I read a very interesting book about King C. Gilette who invented disposable razors. It was revolutionary, being the first really cheap throw-away household gadget. Suddenly you wouldn't need to pay a barber to shave you, or a blacksmith to sharpen your blades. But the result is these trades began to die out and people lost interest in craft and skill in favour of replaceable trinkets.

 

I am definitely guilty of buying something in order to cheer myself. I used to work near Bond Street which was fatal. On a Friday evening, feeling worn out and frazzled, I'd walk to tube past all the shops. It's much easier to remember why you put up with your job when you are able to treat yourself.  

 

If I part with clothes I never throw them in the bin. I either take them to a charity shop or to the textile recycling part of the Wandsworth dump. Textile recycling is something which could be more widely publicised. 

 

My wariness of clothing specifically marketed as ethical is the worthiness surrounding it. I fear there is a smugness to those kinds of brands. I prefer brands like Margaret Howell or Agnes B. which appear to care very deeply about using local textiles, local factories, supporting their communities, things I consider to be ethical and conscientious yet somehow feel less high and mighty or judgemental.

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