We’ve written before about the process of mending and of integrating it into your lifestyle. Embracing mending as sustainable practice and a component of everyday life can be a small change that makes a big difference. Mending acts as a solution to economic challenges by utilizing your own skills to repurpose, repair, and restore your wardrobe. With the perpetuation of “fast-fashion”, mending your clothes is an action you can take to make an impact on a grassroots level.
Plus, as we have discussed in our Worn Stories conversations, people develop relationships with their clothing, keeping and valuing them long past their intended lifespan. Our garments can become part of our personal histories, whether we intend them to or not.
Mending is part of the philosophy of the “living arts” and, like the rest of those skills, we want to see mending grow in popularity. We have hosted Patagonia’s traveling “Worn Wear” repair truck that, in accordance with the company’s repair philosophy, travels the country mending clothing or accepting donations of items that can’t be repaired so they may be repurposed—just as they have been in our Patagonia scarf collaboration. Places like repair cafés—locations where people can take broken or worn items and learn to repair them rather than throw them away—are slowly popping up across the country. iPhone owners are proposing vocal arguments that they should have the ability to repair their own electronics instead of having to buy new (very expensive) phones and gadgets.
As part of our support for the mending movement, Alabama Chanin has created its own mending space that is available to everyone. The School of Making store and workshop space has undergone an expansion, allowing more room to integrate the community into our space. Our expansion includes a mending table, a loom for our zero-waste product development, and a larger workshop area (which is currently getting its finishing touches). The mending table will offer tools like needles, thread, and scissors for those who want to mend any items—not just Alabama Chanin pieces—whether you need to attach a button, patch a hole, or want to rework your item to give it a new life. Organic cotton fabric scraps will be available for purchase to patch and repair your garments too.
The new mending space is open now, and its hours are in conjunction with our store hours: Monday – Friday from 10am – 5pm. Join us in advancing the mending movement in America. (Please note our store is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Years ago one of my sisters showed me how to get extended use from a men’s shirt collar that was worn out; simply remove the stitches holding collar to collar band, flip it over and restitch. With this method I have extended the life of many of my husband’s favorite dress shirts! Hooray for mending.
Thank you for this information, Ellen!
I just love this idea. Now I have a new place to hang out when i visit.
Thank you, Carol. Hope to see you at The Factory again soon.
#mendableiscommendable … no more no less!
I’m so excited to be taking part in Lee Mingwei’s “The Mending Project” at the ICA in Richmond, VA this summer. I hope to share a bit of what AC has taught me and learn how to spread the Mending love.
Thank you, Sue.
Thank you for embracing the concept of mending. It reinforces why I love Alabama Chanin so much! I do have a few garments that I am attached to that I keep repairing, not because they have any special memories attached to them I don’t think. Unless just having them for a long time qualifies. I do find that the older I get the less likely I am to discard things!
We agree, Sandra. Thank you for your feedback.
This has been done for centuries by the japanese. It has become a very beautiful kind of embroidery named Sashiko. I’ve seen a lot of your work has to do with it. It wouldn’t hurt to mention it. It’s all so amazingly gorgeous!
Oh, such an inspiring direction….again! Thank you for encouraging meaning in living life with a “stitching good attitude”
Love, love, love this! Having a space specifically for mending can make it more special and less of a ‘chore’…. especially when you first begin mending/upcycling your old fabrics. I think this is especially important with people who grew up with a diet of primarily fast fashion..& also where their relations who lived through the World Wars/Great Depression were already gone when they were kids. They miss that link to the past with all its stories.
So a special space like the one you guys are creating (and places like the repair cafes & such) help in nurturing those skills & mind sets. Thanks so much for being such a great resource!