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Mending: A Trend for the Wallet, the Soul, and the World By Lisa Kaari

Source: Instagram (@abeststudio)

Mending 101: A Summary

Dolly Parton put it best in her song “Coat of Many Colors” when she sang, “As she sewed, she told a story”. Mending is the act of repairing and refurbishing well-loved items in a wardrobe to extend their use. Traditionally, mending has been practiced as a way to save money to avoid having to purchase an entirely new piece. If you grew up in a working class household, like I did, I’m sure you'll remember a childhood of jeans with patches and jackets with mismatched buttons. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found mending to be so much more than just a way to conserve cash. When you mend clothes: you tell a story. Every swatch and every stitch contributes to the archive of your garment’s “life”. Our clothes are tangible remnants of our best and worst memories. That’s why people try to preserve wedding gowns and hold onto the apparel of loved ones passed. Thus, I feel like we should all mend our clothes: to treat our clothes with the respect they deserve and to tell our stories. Even when cutting costs, mending adds value to our favorite items. When we mend it’s an act of self-care and a tribute to our self-worth. It’s self-care by way of repairing our goods for use. It adds to our sense of self-worth by making us appreciate and embrace the souvenirs of our lived experiences. If you don’t believe me: go ask your grandma.

Grandmas Know Best

Following the usual 2020 method, the culprit for mending coming back into favor is TikTok. As with most trends, this “new” mending craze is just a repurposed old fad seeing it’s hay day yet again. Almost everyone I know has had the experience of opening a Royal Dansk cookie tin just to find a bundle of sewing supplies. This is not just some weird coincidence we’ve all found ourselves in. This is a result of mending’s greatest time in the sun: war time. All of our grandparents have either lived through or were children of those who lived through the world wars. During those times, it was extremely important to take good care of your clothes because it was incredibly impractical and irresponsible to buy new garments when they could easily be fixed. Thus, those disappointing cookie-less discoveries are really wonderful archives into the lifestyles of generations passed. While these TikTok videos are mainly a way to revamp tired items, they still carry the same spirit of our grandmas’ handiwork. Do yourself a favor, before you go run out to JoAnn’s to buy a sewing machine, go ask your grandma how to tidy up your apparel. Not only will you probably get a result with better craftsmanship, it’s also a way to connect so that your clothes can tell even more precious stories.

Mending Our Relationship With Mother Earth

What have we learned so far? Well, mending is good for your wallet and for your soul. If that’s not enough to peak your interest into the wonderful world of mending, did you know it’s also great for the environment? As trends like thrifting arise once again, it’s shocking to me that more people haven’t hopped on the mending bandwagon. Mending is by far the most impactful way to create a conscious wardrobe. As my favorite “eco-babe” organization Fashion Revolution lays out, “The most sustainable garment is the one already in your wardrobe”. Mending will tremendously help to decrease your carbon footprint and it even teaches you a valuable lesson as to why ethical consumerism matters. Humans are inherently selfish and this makes it difficult to convince the public to take direct action for the “great good”. This is a way to help the environment while helping your wallet and your soul. This is the “greatest good” you’re ever going to get to help our world’s “greater good”. All in all, listen to your elders (just this once) and make the world a better place: for you, the ones you love, and the garments you love.

Source: Instagram (@j_creativestudio)

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