The moth path coat

Community Repair: Strategic Social Skill Mobilization for Sustainable Fashion.

This piece was part of a creative research project and exhibition directed by Otto von Busch with the collaboration of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and the London College of Fashion. The project evolved from the impact that garment repair can have around a community, exploring how craft skills among its members can be mobilized for the repair or adjustment of a garment. The Moth Path Coat renovated a discarded male coat into a unique piece of clothing with an emotional story involving members of the local community in Camden, London.

Loula Mercedes

The coat was a favorite article of clothing that belonged to its owner for nearly a decade. In 2006, household moths fed from this wool and cashmere coat leaving it in a useless condition. I was inspired to repair the coat by following the accidental path left by the moths and their subsequent marks/holes, which I highlighted throughout the coat; I revamped the holes applying hand embroidery and stamp printing using eco-pigments

To mobilize members of my local community, I engaged collaborations from students from the Working Men’s College in Camden, for the repair process, which included embroidery, sewing and textile drawing. A printing company, developed the moth rubber-stamp motif, which was based on a scientific drawing of the species of moth (Tineola bisselliella) responsible for the damage. I designed this using digital technology and applied it using the stamp, to create a pattern on the coat.

The whole project was realized without any financial transactions; rather, it was an exchange and sharing of skills and ideas. By emphasizing the history of the coat and the creative processes that facilitated its repair, an emotional attachment was developed between the coat, its owner and all involved in its renovation. It also garnered an emotional response from the people who came to see it at the exhibition.

moth coat 2