Mending…More than Meets the Eye | Guest Blogger: Jamie Facciola

by Raissa Palacios

If you’re interested in mending something, it’s safe to assume you are attached to it. Whether it fits just right, the color is perfect, or it makes you feel great when you wear it. Pretty much, you love it enough to save it.  Lucky you! That is the best relationship to have with clothes or anything else that you own. When that’s the case, caring for it is the only option. It’s easy to overlook some of the hidden benefits and opportunities that come from mending your clothes.

First off, extending the useful life of clothing is very beneficial. Clothing production negatively affects both humans and the environment and is often reported to be the second most polluting industry behind oil and gas. It takes a huge toll to grow, process, transport, produce, dye, cut, distribute, sell and discard clothes; therefore, choose wisely. Invest in pieces that you will wear and maintain over time.  If you give your clothes a long happy life, they will return the favor.

Second, repair is a creative frontier. Basic mending tutorials are widely available via Youtube, blogs, books, and, of course, friends who sew. All you need to bring that shirt/skirt/pants back to life is a needle, thread, your two hands, some courage and a little persistence. With a good imagination, the options become endless. Welcome to the radical world of visible mending, a gateway to creative customization. Why do we hide our repairs anyway? Not because it can’t be beautiful.

What if the repair required is above your skill level? Professionals add quantifiable benefits to our community, support them! This happened to me recently. The smooth, shiny lining in my beloved 16 year old J. Crew pea coat was shredding. In addition, a small hole had appeared in the right pocket where the lining had worn through. Thankfully, my local tailor was not daunted. When I have a professional repair my jacket, I am not only supporting a local, independent business that adds resiliency to our local economy, but I’m also helping to preserve a skilled trade that actively reduces waste by keeping clothes in working order and out of the landfill.

The simple act of mending brings joy, extends the life of your clothes, reduces pressure on the environment, offers community benefits, and gives creative freedom. Feel good knowing you’re doing good when you mend what you love.

Jamie Facciola is a repair advocate, award-winning social entrepreneur, and Director of Impact at Kay Chesterfield, Inc., a 96-year-old reupholstery workshop.