Handstitched in space and time: the story of a vintage patchwork cloak



This article explores through narrative autoethnography: how a single, vintage, handmade garment travels subjectively through spaces and times in what Arnould and Thompson (2005 p. 871) call “process-oriented categories of acquisition, consumption, and disposition”. Second-hand consumption involves more than a single moment but instead covers a spectrum of activities and practices, extending backwards and forwards through time and the imagination. Equally, it travels in and out of different spaces as it moves from one owner to another. The cloak, like other vintage and second-hand garments, is theorised as always in process, on its way to somewhere else and towards the future. The author’s subjective and entangled relationship with the cloak, is used to express the complex bricolage of modern second-hand consumption, with historical and geographical components at the acquisition, possession, and disposition moments. Including reflections on existing literature on secondhand clothing cultures, this paper theorises that second-hand consumption is like a patchwork, with the individual pieces of fabric representing spaces and times and its bricolage construction echoing its symbolic, experiential, and embodied nature.


Vintage FashionCraftCircular EconomyThe Social Life of ThingsSecond-handConsumption Behaviour
  • Issue: 17
  • Page/Article: 158-179
  • DOI: 10.18573/jomec.223
  • Published on 9 Dec 2022
  • Peer Reviewed