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clara vuletich

Journalist, researcher, fashion consultant

Do you have a love story in your wardrobe?

I have a collection of garments that were hand by my god mother who was, and is, a really wonderful home sewer. In the 1970s and 80s when I was growing up she taught me to sew and I have been lucky enough to inherit some of the garments she has made – a beautiful liberty print floral jacket,  with lining and covered buttons in the same fabric. Really special. Those jackets are probably my favourite garments.

Question: What’s one tip you live by to extend the life of your clothes?

I collect hand made clothes: I love hand made clothes. There are a lot of vintage pieces that I have found over the years.  One tip is not to wear those things too much! I do a little bit of repair on them: I’ll get out the needle and thread and if something is coming apart I’ll just sew it up.  I think just taking garments off their hangers and really looking at them properly. We don’t do that very much.  Hand washing is also a really good tip and you get to know it and get really intimate with the garment. We live such fast lives, and I think we treat our clothes in a similar way.  I think it is really nice to treat it [clothes] as a really special object and handle it, and feel it, and look at the care label, and look at how it is constructed. Then I think you develop a deeper sense of “someone has made this!” and a lot of resources has gone into this garment.  So…looking after it!

Question: What’s your rule when buying clothes for yourself?

I have been a consumer of fashion since I was 15/16…. So the time you have hit your 40s you have developed a kind of understanding of what works for you. You’ve also gone through various phases of having a certain income…. So I’ve gone through a lot of stages: now I am doing things differently from when I was 18. I’ve always shopped in second hand shops – I grew up in the early to mid 1990s in Australia and I was always shopping at Vinnies.  And then “vintage” became the in thing to do!  So I would guess I would say, try and shop to find something that already exists, that’s not made from dodgy materials. As I have become older, my buying habits have changed.  I am probably buying less second hand than I used to but now I am buying more classic things and I am also really passionate about supporting independent designers. My wardrobe is made up of second hand, independent designers and a few pieces from larger labels … that is pretty much my buying behaviours at the moment!   

Paying a garment worker a living wage would increase the price of a $40 t-shirt by around 5% and increase their wages from 25c to 63c per t-shirt
— Fashion Revolution Fanzine ¨Fashion, Money, Power¨