The Value of Mending
“We’re forced to slow down, and begin to understand the amount of work and care that goes into the creation of clothes. This understanding causes us to value clothing, and the more we value clothing, the less we’ll waste it.” – Lily Fulop
Probably the most accessible rationalization for spending a lot more on a single garment is that it will last longer. While this is most often true, because responsibly produced clothing is by definition a higher quality and better made than fast fashion, the value of a sustainable garment is in more than its longevity.
If a garment is a truly sustainable product, its value will be in its components, its positive impact on the environment, and the consideration for the health and safety of humans all along the line of production and consumption.
Mending expert and author of the mending guide Wear, Repair, Repurpose Lily Fulop put it well in an interview with Save Your Wardrobe — Lily says “…Mending and hand-sewing are important because they connect us to our clothes in a material and tactile way. We’re forced to slow down, and begin to understand the amount of work and care that goes into the creation of clothes. This understanding causes us to value clothing, and the more we value clothing, the less we’ll waste it. Plus, once we realize that clothes are made by hands (not machines) we can advocate for ethical manufacturing practices and fair wages.”
By mending our own clothes we are not only creating a new life for what we already have and rejecting the notion that new is better, but we are embracing an art form. Visible mending has become a popular expression of creativity that is inspired by the Japanese art of Sashiko. Sashiko translates to “little stabs” which is shown through a running stitch that creates beautiful geometric patterns on the mended area of your clothing. All you need is some thread and a needle – anybody can do it!
To try mending at home, socks are a great place to start! Those pesky holes in the toes or stretched wear in the heel might make you want to throw your socks away, but wait! Grab a needle and some thread and you can add a few years to the life of that pair of socks while learning this valuable slow living skill. The video below will help you get started, and we also have some great naturally dyed socks you can find in the shop!
For an introduction in to basic mending stitches, check out this earlier blog — and find some of our favorite accounts to follow below, from the Shasiko-style mends by Katrina Rodabaugh to the intricate, playful embroidery work of Christi Jay.