As of 2023, it is estimated that fashion and textile production accounts for 20% of wastewater and 10% of annual global carbon emissions (Somerset council, 2023). Of the 100 billion garments that are produced by the fashion industry every year, as much as 92 million tons of clothing ends up in landfills (The Round Up). Therefore if we want to lengthen the lifespan of our planet, one way to do that is by lengthening the lifespan of our clothing! Astonishingly, extending the wear of a garment by 9 months can reduce the environmental impact by 20-30% (BBC, 2020). Plus, given that around 5% of total household spend in the UK goes towards clothing, it is also in our wallets’ best interest to 'make-do and mend'.
France has recently tackled the over-production and excessive waste of clothing head on, devising a unique new plan to encourage people to claim back up to 7 euros on shoe repairs and 10-25 euros for clothes in attempt to encourage them to repair items rather than discard them. This first-of-its kind scheme begins in October and is predicted to cost the French government a massive 154 million euros over the next 5 years. This is a great step to tackle one element of fast fashion though and we really hope it is successful. Currently, there are no such schemes in the works in the UK or even any specific fast fashion laws – but perhaps France will be a trailblazer for change!
However, with or without a French subsidy, we can and should learn how to repair and breathe new life into our clothes ourselves to increase their lifespan. Understandably, this can be tricky without the time or knowledge needed to mend clothing – however, fear not, for the art of ‘visible mending’ or ‘Sashiko’ is so in. The whole premise behind visible mending is that any obvious mistakes are beautiful and appreciated, because it celebrates the mends that bring new life to old clothes. It is cool to care!
We do, however, appreciate that sometimes the hardest part of fixing something is simply getting started. So, we wanted to set aside some dedicated time to get the ball rolling! Therefore, we kicked off our exciting series of in-store events at you with a fantastic mending workshop. We discovered that not only did this event breathe new life into our well-loved garments, but it also created an incredible sense of community. The image below shows some of the beautiful ‘visible mending’ that took place - Sarah's first attempt at sock darning, definitely still a work in progress!
Our incredible instructor, Olivia, led the workshop with her wealth of knowledge and a bag full of sewing goodies. We all brought in items that needed a little TLC, ranging from ripped tops to holey socks, and Olivia was right there, lending a helping hand and giving us expert advice on how to mend our precious pieces.
The evening was great fun and many of us left with our mended items feeling like they were brand new again. I certainly discovered a newfound confidence in my mending abilities - Olivia taught me how to fix a large rip in the collar of a silk shirt simply with a needle and thread and ribbon. This ingenious trick made the stitching really sturdy, meaning it's less likely to rip again.
We want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came and made the workshop such a success. All the profits from this workshop were donated to The Butterfly Conservation Society and Cheney School's Greening Project, both charities nominated by Olivia. Our next mending workshop is already in the works - so keep an eye out for emails and updates on our website for a further 'great opportunity to sit, come together and learn some new skills' (Daniela, mending workshop attendee - who is now 'on a roll' and attempting to darn a cashmere jumper).
We are committed to hosting more amazing events in the future, so stay tuned and remember, Loved Clothes Last!