Who’s coats that jacket?

Words and Photography by Kate Rossini

The clocks have just gone forward and spring is amongst us. The weather is so erratic at the moment that one day I’m tanning out the back garden and the next i’ll be sheltering from hail storm,  I wear my mums blazer jacket all the time and it’s something I will never get rid of so I started thinking about the clothes I wear and what they mean to me, the stories they hold. 

I’d recently watched an episode of  a Netflix series called Worn stories that makes us think about the stories behind our clothes. It was based on the book by Emily Spivack in 2014. Love Clothes Last, a book by Orsola de Castro Came out in 2021, discusses the ways you can make changes to your shopping habits and make a difference to the environment as well as teaching you how to make the clothes you love last longer. 

The book allows you to acknowledge the downfalls of fast fashion such as human and environmental exploitation. – no. Love Clothes Last shows us we can all care, repair and rewear. 

Love Clothes Last and Worn Stories have inspired me to look at peoples stories regarding the things we wear.I decided to focus on jackets, the welsh weather always shows signs of rain every month so everyone owns one or two and no doubt some jackets will have a strong emotional link to a memory that can be unlocked. 

I interviewed four people to understand the meanings behind the jacket they love the most and the sense of connection it explores. 

I photographed and interviewed Danni about her jacket that has a close place to her heart. “This jacket was my mum’s before she passed away 12 years ago. Getting it was a very surreal experience, my siblings and I were taking things out of the wardrobe after she passed that reminded us of her, and at 13 that was quite a difficult situation to be put in. “ 

The sense of connection you can feel from a piece of clothing is powerful, especially in Danni’s case. I asked her if she felt close to her mum when she wears the jacket,  she said “I do, definitely. I have a few items of clothing that really remind me that despite her passing, she did exist and I am her daughter. I grew up with a lot of people who would share clothing and jewellery with their mums and I was always jealous, I get a sense of pride when people ask about this jacket and I get to say “this is my mums” 

Relating to the environmental issues with fast fashion and our shopping habits, I wanted to know how long Danni would plan on keeping this jacket. She replied saying she would never get rid of the jacket because it’s got such a huge memory intertwined with it, which is her mum. It’s clear from this jacket Danni has strong memories of her mum, which can be celebrated through the item. 

Second hand clothing has become increasingly popular with our generation, people shop second hand for the prices or because they want to stop feeding into fast fashion. I spoke to Laura and Faye who both got their jackets from second hand shops. Laura got her jacket from Bristol Saint, a vintage seller based in Bristol and Faye bought hers from a charity shop. 

Laura’s jacket from Bristol Saint had a ticket stub in the pocket from a 2015 gig. Laura went on to explain that this showed her just how lived in the jacket had been and how someone had previously loved it which made it feel so special. Faye also mentioned that her jacket had a previous life to it “It feels like new but I actually got it from a charity shop last year. I found some old train tickets in the pockets so I’m sure it had an interesting life before it got to me.” 

Laura said she feels cool when she wears this particular jacket “It makes me feel really cool not going to lie! I love how bomber jackets have come back. I know in 2012 I owned one from New Look as they were all the rage, but they have come back in a cooler way, leather styles and American inspired. I love the oversized fit of the jacket, I feel it really compliments an outfit and elevates it. “ 

As well as feeling cool there’s a great story behind this jacket which explores the element of memories. Laura collaborated with Bristol Saint for her final project in university. “The jacket was a key element of the shoot and I fell in love with it and offered to buy it off the seller. I paid £50 for it and felt it was worth it as it’s real leather and Levi’s which is a reputable brand.” Laura always has this jacket to look back on and remind herself of a time in her life where she worked hard and created a project for her university course, allowing memories to circulate. 

Although second hand clothing is a craze that most young people are thriving off at the moment, a lot of people are saving up money to buy expensive designer clothes that will last a long time. I spoke to Ethan who owns a Stone Island Jacket. I asked him how often he reaches for the jacket in his wardrobe? “This jacket hasn’t been in my wardrobe long, but I feel I choose it for practical reasons over anything else due to the winter being rainy. This jacket takes away the stress of “is it going to rain or not?” 

He went on to explain that most of his clothes are passed down apart from this jacket but that gives him the reassurance that it will have a long life. “Nearly all my wardrobe is hand me downs. I’ve been blessed with a trendy old man, that definitely has its perks! However, this jacket is brand new off the shelf. Because it’s an expensive jacket it gives me the reassurance that it will have plenty of life in it for years to come and I will get my money’s worth.”

I wanted to know if Ethans jacket was something he would have for a long time, even though this piece wasn’t passed down or from a second hand shop, it’s also not from a fast fashion brand so I was intrigued to see how he would give the jacket a new life if he no longer wants to wear it. “I strongly believe that in the future once I’ve had my time with this jacket it will be able to serve a purpose to another family member or friend. Me and my dad always swap and share clothes, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it became an item in his wardrobe for when he needs a jacket to go to the local pub for a pint.”

If we all take a moment to look at what’s in our wardrobe, or even in our friends or families we will be able to unleash a serge of memories or a sense of connection that can comes with a piece of clothing.

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