Knowledge, like materials, is readily commodified, commercialised and traded globally. Yet the practical application of knowledge – the skills of manufacturing, laundering, repairing – is a local concern. Where fashion skills overlap with the physical world, and manipulate matter and energy, they cannot be wholly independent of place-context.

The fashion and textile related skills of Macclesfield show more variety than the material goods on offer and reflect some of the town’s heritage and its distinctiveness:

  • Skills include those at a high-level, e.g. silk printing.
  • Others, such as within a sewing machine repair workshop, fabric suppliers and haberdashers, play a disproportionately significant role in the way other clothing-related activities function.
  • The keepers of skills are often family-run, independent, small-scale businesses, away from the centre of town.
  • Within local homes the ingredients for making, repair and maintenance are present including the tools and space to do so. There are gaps in skills and motivation to pursue these activities.