Borrowing clothes is a way in which women with limited financial resources, or in my case, women who are no longer allowing themselves to buy new clothes, are still able to be creative and innovative in their clothing choices. According to Sophie Woodward (2007), the borrowing of clothing is important in terms of how each woman is able to expand upon the possibilities of her self. Thus, through processes of exchange, LENA the Fashion Library is able to expand the conceptualisation of identity construction.
By means of borrowing clothes from a library, women are able to expand one’s wardrobe beyond the social system by which they construct their personal identity. Unlike the pieces of clothing one owns, the idea of borrowing is that a piece of clothing only becomes a temporary aspect of one’s identity. In this sense, one can thus easily play around with the visual aspects of identity. The beauty of it all, is that there is a difference in borrowing clothes from friends or family. “Although these items are shared and worn, each women only possesses the item temporarily so the original owner is always recognised. As clothing carries such an intimate connection to identity, the item remains linked to the original wearer” (Woodward 2007). The fun with LENA the fashion library is that the clothing doesn’t belong to a person, it is hanging in a shop.
Furthermore, borrowing means that one can try out different ways of expressing one’s self through the act of dressing. You can try on ‘selves’ that you have never dared buying in the shop. One can experiment with colours and silhouettes without making long lasting mistakes: I return each item of clothing after I have worn it for a while, so it never becomes a fixed aspect of your wardrobe. Thus, in my opinion, LENA created the best solution to fast fashion: without having to consume, one does have the neurological pleasure of buying a new piece of clothing!
Images are taken with items that I borrowed at LENA the fashion library.