Bate, Toni and Garland, Liz (2014) Precious? Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 7 (3). pp. 403-413. ISSN 1753-5190

The costume industry regularly utilizes vintage clothing for performance in theatre and film. Reflecting on garments previously encountered during a career in this industry, the authors contemplate the lives and purpose of such items and their role within a working costume store. Discussion with professionals from various backgrounds evokes a wide range of questions and differing opinions surrounding the idea of value in this context, producing a subjective reaction with no definitive answer. This article contextualizes these questions through the study of a single item of historical clothing currently used as costume, encouraging the reader to consider how the value of such pieces is perceived. The concept of the costume stock room as an accessible, living archive is explored in relation to the recognized traditional archival structure of a museum store where conservation and preservation have priority.

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