Personal project/OUTER: a photo series using the coat to explore the relationships we form with the clothes that shape our identity.

“I have many items of clothing that belonged to my Grandma that I could have picked but I chose this jacket because I don’t get to wear it that often. It is silk and has a luxurious feel and I think it is handmade because there are no labels. Every now and again I see old photos of my Grandma in outfits that I wear now, and it makes me feels quite strange – I suppose wearing her clothes on a regular basis keeps me close to her. My Grandma and Mum kept a lot of stuff from women before them – they are hoarders and some people would say that about me too. I feel like I have a hangover from the thrifty generations and think I can make anything work – like whack a belt round it and it will look great. I am experimental and don’t have one look – I like to switch things up.” Leni

“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. 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.” Neil

APC coat

“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 A.P.C. 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.” Suzanne

parka coat

“It’s a mood enhancer –  it’s gorgeous and if people don’t agree, there’s something wrong with them.” Hannah

editorial fashion photography

“The buttons don’t stay closed, so I physically have to wrap it around me – when I walk along the road and my hair goes over my face and bunches up like a scarf, I feel like people can’t see me and it makes me feel secure.” Sophie

“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.I don’t wear it so much now because I think it makes me look too glamorous and sassy and I don’t really feel like that. Since having my baby boy just over 12 months ago, I have been working on getting my sexy back, so maybe wearing it now, is part of that.” Ana

male portrait photograph

“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. 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

portrait photograph

“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 remember 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. I have friends that make comments about the regrets of getting older and the fact that men don’t look at them in the same 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 look fabulous.” Katy