“Why go through all the effort of fixing a piece of clothing if I can just order a new one and receive it tomorrow? Clothes are dirt cheap these days anyway.”
Sadly, this is where Fast Fashion has gotten us; to the point where clothes are mere disposables, not worth our time, not worth fixing. But it hasn’t always been this way. Our relationship with clothes used to be different. The things you wear used to be seen as an investment, worth caring, repairing, and wearing for a long time.
From a sustainability standpoint, fixing your clothes is probably the most impactful thing you can do. It allows you to wear your clothes for longer, and since you won’t have to buy anything new, the resources and CO2 which are normally consumed and emitted during the production process of a garment won’t have to be. Given that several studies point out that the fashion industry accounts for about 8-10% of global carbon emissions - most of which is emitted during the production phase of a garment’s life cycle - this is a big deal.
So why is garment repair not the first thing that comes to mind when you find a hole in your favorite T-shirt?
Did everyone suddenly get too busy?
Is it the result of an evil plot by the Fast Fashion giants?
Or did we simply forget how easy and rewarding fixing fashion can be?
We won’t go down the rabbit hole that is fast fashion conspiracies, so we’ll go with the latter.
Now, time to get you hyped on the idea of garment repair. We’ve mapped out a few simple introductory steps that will help you get started with fixing your favorite pieces, should they break. Or maybe you already have a few garms’ in the back of your closet which need mending.
Whatever the case may be, now is your time to shine.
Let’s get into it.
HOW TO FIX YOUR CLOTHES - AN INTRODUCTION.
While each of the following steps definitely warrant their own, extensive blog article, we want to start slow and simple. To plant a seed, which will eventually sprout and get you to pick up a needle and thread next time you discover a small hole in your favorite item of clothing.
To do so, we have created this introductory blog article on the 5 steps which, collectively, make up the act of extending your clothes’ lives.
Being proactive about making your clothes last longer will go a long way. As far as best practices for garment care go, there are a few easy things you can do:
- Read the washing label that’s sewn inside your garment and follow its instructions
- Only wash your clothes when necessary
- Try not to tumble dry your clothes
- Got a stain? Identify it and treat it accordingly. #fixingfashion has an amazing, in-depth guide about stain removal. And of course, you can always ask your mom (or dad) for the tried and tested family stain-remover-trick.
- Close zippers and buttons before washing to prevent small holes
Clothes are meant to be worn, which will obviously come with some inevitable wear and tear. And that’s okay, especially when you got a basic understanding of the different repair techniques out there. Here’s a quick intro to 3 of them:
- Stitch repair is a quick and easy fix done by hand or machine. While it works for small holes, it’s not very durable when it comes to fixing places which are under a lot of friction or tension.
- Patch repair is a very durable repair method in which you strengthen the damaged area with a new piece of fabric.
- Darning is a durable repair method. And it looks cool. It’s done by creating a weave over or in the damaged area, effectively closing it and preventing it from ripping any further.
Naturally, there are many more repair techniques. If you’re ready to really get into it, check out - you guessed it - #fixingfashion’s repair guide. They know what they’re talking about.
If certain parts of your garment are irreparable, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be worn again. Re-imagining - also known as upcycling - is a great excuse to get creative. Here are a few techniques that you can use to breathe new life into your clothes:
- Resize to change the fit of your garment by making it smaller or bigger, shorter or longer
- Remake a garment by fusing other items or fabrics to it
- Recolor a garment by dying it a new color, or restoring its original color in case it has faded
- Decorate a garment with embroidery, prints, or needle felting to give it some new heat
Once again, #fixingfashion is coming in clutch with an extensive guide to upgrading your clothes. If you need some inspiration, make sure to check out @3womenco, @nicolemclaughlin or Full Circle’s designer Wytze’s upcycling project for The North Face.
If all else fails - if your garment has truly reached the end of its life - then it’s time to recycle it. Recycling your clothes is meant to keep it out of landfills and incinerators. Depending on the material composition of your garment, it can even be used to make new clothes. All our Full Circle items, for example, are made out of 100% cotton, so that they can be recycled into new Full Circle items once they reach their end of life.
ASK FOR HELP.
You’re busy, we get it. Or maybe clothing repair just isn’t your thing. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for throwing away clothes if they could easily be fixed. There are great local resources, including tailors and clothing repair shops, which can fix your piece at a reasonable price. They’re a quick google search away.
In some instances, brands also offer a free in-house repair service, so it’s worth checking out their website or shooting them a message on social media. Brands who are known for their repair services include Nudie Jeans, The Northface, Patagonia, and Arc’teryx - but this list is steadily growing, which is great.