Swinton said she realized the importance of garment longevity after going through her late mother’s wardrobe. “Clothes outlive us very, very often,” she told the magazine. “You know, body’s gone, clothes still here. There’s a tradition of people inheriting clothes—certainly in Scotland, people tend to wear their grandfather’s kilts. There’s a feeling that clothes are to be passed down from generation to generation. It’s only relatively recently that we have a fetish for newness.”
Whether you anthropomorphize your sweaters or not, people can’t help but develop emotional attachments to certain things, Swinton added. We’re only human, after all. “All of us, wherever we are placed in relation to clothes, are drawn to fewer articles than we might care to admit, because you have a natural relationship with them,” she said. “We all have relationships with an old jersey that people have told us to throw out, but we’re not going to because you know what? You’ve got a very strong relationship with that thing.”
Modern consumption trends, however, don’t give garments the opportunity to develop inner lives. They’re reduced to merchandise, and disposable ones at that.
Swinton understands that clothes should have intrinsic value—even if the terminology eludes her. “I don’t even really know what [fast fashion] is,” she confessed. “I’m pretty slow in every department.”