Bettina

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“I bought this coat when I moved to London in January two years ago. It is a random French brand from a shop in Shoreditch – East London. I liked the fact that it looked vintage and worn and the long length and oversized shape is comforting and feels like a hug. Moving here with my husband and daughter was exciting but also daunting because we uprooted everything from Spain where I had lived for the past 12 years to live in a big city.

During the transition, I went through this whole thing with my clothes and found five different styles in my wardrobe. It has taken me until now to feel comfortable in my own skin, in terms of who I am and what I like to wear. I have let go of the mixture of styles and those jeans that I know I cannot get into and accept that I will never be as skinny as I was before, and that is totally okay – I would rather be juicy and happy, than skinny and miserable.

I am very opinionated about things that are not always to everyone’s liking and that is fine but being in one mindset is like a trap and I have learned that it is okay to change your mind which is really important in life. Vegan does not mean better and it does not mean healthy. Veganism is such a big label – there are so many strings attached to it, so it is better to not be anything. I am conscious – I am vocal about the stuff I am passionate about, like seasonality, shopping local, being more sustainably minded, but I am also realistic and not everybody has the opportunity to go to zero waste shops, cycle to work, or buy organic. You can only do the best you can, and the smallest efforts make a big difference.” Bettina Campoluccio Bordi @bettinas_kitchen author of Happy Food and 7 Day Vegan Challenge

Suzie

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“This coat reminds me of happy times and new beginnings – I living with my friend, started a new job and I had been with my boyfriend, Alex for just over a year when he gave me this APC cape as a gift for my Birthday – I felt surprised at how perfect it was – mainly because I am so bloody hard to choose for, especially clothes. I was overwhelmed with the generosity and it felt really nice that he had noticed my style and his taste met mine.

I like simple, classic clothes and navy blue is my ultimate favourite colour. I try to take good care of it, so I don’t wear it very often and have refused to take it back to my hometown Stockport when visiting my parents in fear of getting dog hair all over it. Six years later, still going strong and each time I brush past it in the wardrobe, I think about Alex and how special I felt on that day.” Suzie @suzieseal

Neil

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“My Dad died 5 years ago and left me a few quid, instead of paying my debts off and doing something sensible with it, I spent it on clothes and bought this coat. He was into clothes, so I think he would approve. The first jacket I coveted belonged to my Dad – a trucker style, mustard cord Lee jacket. He was quite small and when I was 10, he gave me the jacket because we were the same size. It’s come full circle; this coat is like the last present from him. 

This coat is Nigel Cabourn x Eddie Bauer Kara Coram collab. Cabourn is a genius, not super commercial and doing what he does because he loves it – you can tell this when you wear his clothes – everything is perfect. I love camouflage. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in the army. My relatives had been in the war and I had a chiropodist when I was 7 who had been a Desert Rat – he would tell me war stories whilst cutting my verruca’s off. I was going to join the Royal Marines until I saw the Falklands War on TV, a man on a stretcher with his leg blown off and I thought oh right it’s not all gung-ho, back home in time for tea and medals.

I’ve always collected stuff: toy figures as a kid, vinyl, trainers, clothes but I was always skint and couldn’t afford what I wanted. One of the reasons for setting up Proper in the late 90s was to blag free stuff. I don’t blag anymore. I appreciate everything I get sent. I remember feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I received a jacket from Arktis, with a message on a post-it note that simply read ‘I hope you like this, the SAS do’ 

My obsession has deepened over the years – my son is named after Massimo Osti and I admit I omitted a high pitch squeal when I discovered a vintage Volvo overall with a Stone Island patch at Massimo’s archive. I have often thought why I have a chasm of neediness for outwear. But when I interviewed Alaine de Botton and asked him if he thought my obsession with clothes is trivial and vein and he said ‘not at all, clothing is human architecture and massively important’ I thought, right, I’ll take that” Neil @neilsummers_ co founder and editor of @propermag

Katy

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“I was at a vintage fair and I happened to see this coat hanging up with a lovely silk scarf around the neck and I remembering thinking it looked really quite glamorous and reminded me of the type of coat the old film stars used to wear. When I tried it on, it fitted really well and I felt dressed up. It’s not important for me to look glamorous but the coat is and does make me feel glam without making too much effort.

I have friends that make comments about the regrets of getting older and the fact that men don’t look at them in a particular way anymore. But my view is that why would they when there are younger women to look at. Youth is attractive.

Glamour is timeless – you can be glamorous at any age. I dress for myself and I feel better about myself if I have made the effort. I don’t look in the mirror and expect to see myself 30 years ago or the same figure but I think, well if I look alright in terms of my outfit, hair and make-up, I feel alright. And if I don’t look alright, I don’t look in the mirror, or I take my glasses off and I take a few steps back and I will look fabulous.” Katy @katy.howitt

Hannah

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“I was on my way with my ex boyfriend gong to a pub in West Dulwich to watch the rugby and we were strolling past this retro store on the way and I saw this coat – I tried it on and I immediately fell in love with it and thought, oh god I have to have it. I wasn’t expecting to spend that much money – it was 130 quid. It’s precious, so I don’t like to wear it very often, if I am going out of an evening, I don’t really like to take it out and just to shuv in a pub corner. It makes me feel quite unique, maybe like I stand out , which I don’t mind – I quite enjoy it. I can’t hide away in this coat, so I have to own it and stride down the street.” Hannah @_hannahburton

Ana

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“My coat makes me feel like a hot chocolate with cream on a winters day – warm and cosy. I found it on a secondhand stall on Portobello Road Market, 10 years ago, when I first moved to London from Lisbon my home town in Portugal. It was cheap as chips and it stank but thankfully the faux fur survived the washing machine. It has fake pockets that I can only fit the tips of my fingers in – not so great – but it is very dear to me because it holds many happy memories and despite now living in Crystal Palace – Portobello will always have a big place in my heart. ” Ana @anafreiredeandrade

Simon

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“This jacket sums up a time of falling in love and discovery. It was the winter of 1993 and I was visiting my present partner Mat in New York because he was living and working out there. It was bollock freezing and I was in a store in Chelsea on the West Side of Manhattan where I found this shiny, dark blue jacket with fake fur collar and padded lining. I later discovered that the jacket is an NYPD original and the zips at the side are for easy gun access.

I like the fit of it – tailored but comfortable. At the time, I was into clubbing and it fitted with that sportswear style fashion, so I suppose it was like a jacket version of club wear. It has a lot of memories – I wore it every winter for over 20 years.

The 90s were filled with excitement and possibility, particularly in the UK in terms of gay culture and politics – after acid house, the club scene exploded and things started to shift – in 1990 The Village in Soho was the first gay bar in London with windows as opposed to shutters, so you could see inside. In 1997 Labour got in, and one of the policies that went through early on, was recognising same-sex partners for immigration purposes, enabling Mat to move over here from New York in 1999 – prior to that, for 6 years we would spend 3 weeks in New York, 3 weeks apart and 3 weeks in London – the US law meant that I could never have moved there, even to this day.” Simon (Martin Aston), writer and author of Facing The Other Way: The Story Of 4AD, Pulp and Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache: How Music Came Out.

Self Portrait

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“When I started this project, I dug out an old leather bomber jacket I have had since the early 00s and photographed myself wearing it. For years it was my companion at raves, parties and festivals and made the perfect night to day wear. It is now ripped at the seams with frayed cuffs and bits of mud impregnated in the leather. Movement causes faint wafts of perfume, sweat and fire to release, flooding my head with fragments of broken memories from those years, that no longer feel like me.” Olivia @oliviahowittphoto

Sol

The jacket: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“This jacket is the first expensive thing that I have bought in my whole life. It’s from Selfridges and it felt good when I got it because Stussy is a brand that me and all my mates think is cool and nice.”

I like the bright colours and cosy feel of the fabric. It’s big and baggy and I think that’s what makes it look really good – I like baggy clothes – they make me feel free. I can’t skate in tight clothes – like there’s no way I’d wear skinny jeans – they look like you’d rip your crotch.

But I get most of my clothes from Oxfam. Oxfam because you can find really good jumpers, jeans and t-shirts and it’s cheaper than getting new things. If it’s a no brand it doesn’t matter, it’s about how the clothes make me feel. It doesn’t bother me that they have already been worn – it’s like I wash it and it’s mine now, init.

I want people to see me as a person who cares about what they wear but doesn’t care at the same time. I want to be someone who wears what they want, and it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks.” Sol @sgcskatecrew

Sophie

The coat: exploring the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“I don’t think my coat is the most flattering or beautiful, it is more the relationship I have with it. When I first got it, I wasn’t sure if it was really me. So, when I wore it for the first time at my mate’s birthday weekend in the countryside and a bloke said it looked like a dog blanket it made me feel worried about what other people might think. But as the weekend continued and we spent time outdoors in the cold weather, I learnt that the buttons don’t stay closed, so I physically had to wrap it around me and hug myself – it made me feel secure and I cared less about what people thought.”