Lockdown Clothing: following up with Clodagh

It’s been over six months since the start of the Lockdown Clothing project, and everyone’s lives have changed considerably since we first began collecting stories of how people are dressing under lockdown and quarantine. Clodagh Deegan answered the original questions back in April 2020 and this is what she told us when we checked back in.

1) If you feel that your personal style and/or self-perception has changed since lockdown, can you describe how?

Initially I felt like Capitalism had stopped and it was a huge relief. I work freelance as a costume designer and supervisor and it had felt like nothing I was doing was enough. It was a weight off my shoulders to stop. I am very lucky in that the Irish government did provide people like me with a Pandemic Unemployment Payment which is just enough to get by and I relished ‘Shopping my closet’. It turns out I have many, many clothes! I also made a couple of pieces for myself and my husband, which was very rewarding.

I loved the fact that at home my clothing didn’t need to have any particular function. It didn’t have to exist in weather or look appropriate to any particular environment. As a result I probably looked a lot more dressed up than I normally do, but even those days I was just wearing jeans and a sweatshirt I really enjoyed them because I was wearing them for comfort and not to fit in with other people.

My hair is pretty bad at the best of times – thin and fine and my natural colour is mousy brown. For most of the year I’ve been hiding my grown-out ombré in headscarves. I started with a Rosie the Riveter look, I’m now leaning more toward a turban style. I love how it elevates my normal, fairly minimal clothes into an ensemble. I feel both tidier and more interesting-looking.

That said, and even though Ireland is back in Lockdown, things are creeping back to normal. TV & Film have been designated ‘Essential Services’ (Possibly because there were a couple of half-finished productions financed by Apple & Amazon waiting to complete) I have had a few little bits of work recently and on the last job I found I was almost back to that Work/Shop/Repeat cycle. My Lockdown wardrobe suddenly felt like a neon sign that read ‘Poverty! Right Here!’ Intellectually I know I looked fine but I think when I’m stressed my first instinct is to buy clothes. I could see that when the temperatures dropped last weekend, that a lot of the people living in my area hadn’t been unemployed since March/April. There were a lot of brand new trainers and puffer coats around.

2) Has your approach to purchasing clothing changed as a result of lockdown? How so?

I am spending more time thinking about whether I actually need a thing. This has been financially driven, but it has also been to do with seeing how much I have when I’m organised enough and have time enough to stay on top of laundry and hand-washing the finer stuff.

Realistically though, I know if I were working on something & maybe not enjoying it so much, I would get very spendy. I am trying to use this year to create work for myself that doesn’t make me stress-spend.

I had already weaned myself off fast fashion to a great extent. I’m even more determined now to go for quality, and to support small and local businesses.

I regret that I cannot make or mend my own shoes because that is the one area where I genuinely can say that I need something. Well, I need one something and I really want two other somethings. * Normal *

Photo is of me melding with my sofa. Ercol sofa, seat covered with House of Hackney Zanjan cotton velvet. Wearing merino wool polo neck from Arket and grey wool midi skirt I made myself.

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