Social assets


Social assets, such as exchange and goodwill are specific to place and community, the product of personal contact and relationships. They are difficult to commodify and resist movement off-shore.

In Macclesfield, social assets associated with creation, maintenance and use of clothing are in evidence at the local level. Much of it is informal, relying on personal, long-term relationships and self-created networks. Unlike the formal activity of the town’s fashion retailers, which is supported by the council, these exchanges survive without any recognised infrastructure:

  • Key hubs within Macclesfield nurture communities of interest around clothes making and maintenance, giving them place and support. Knowledge is routinely transferred between ‘experts’ that run the launderette, fabric suppliers and sewing classes and their customers;
  • The town’s two fabric suppliers not only provide the essential materials and advise for making but also membership into a local community of makers;
  • A local launderette, creates social hubs for those that visit regularly; making clothes maintenance into a gateway to tending community.
  • An informal word-of-mouth network built up over time cultivates services to support garment-related activities.
  • Similarly, households rely on relationships they build with relatives and friends. Clothing that is shared, gifted and exchanged at a domestic level.