These well-loved jeans were bought as an investment purchase a few years ago and have inevitably over time become worn through across the knee. In this era of disposable fashion and with increasing awareness of the real cost in human and environmental terms of the fashion industry, I am learning how to make repairs. It feels good to know that there is still life and value in these jeans, to save them from the rubbish heap (or from the endless re-selling of second-hand clothes in the less developed world) and to buck the fast fashion trend of always wanting what is new. The good old-fashioned, thrifty art of repair has become a revolutionary act!
This jeans repair was inspired by the Japanese ceramic art form / philosophy of kintsugi, in which broken pots are mended with lacquer overlaid with gold leaf. Kintsugi is about finding beauty in broken things. The damage to the item is accepted as part of its history, part of what makes the object beautiful, rather than something which should be discarded or disguised. Often the gold can add more beauty to the object than it had originally.
My kintsugi jeans use gold thread, satin stitched over the hole and over the weaker spots in the remaining fabric, framed by the patch on the reverse which holds it all together.
Image search: kintsugi
Or download the printable pdf version.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide but is meant to serve as a prompt for people who want to shop in a way that makes a difference to those bearing the hidden cost of our ever-increasing desire for more and cheaper clothing.
There are things that we can do as consumers that make a difference – this guide highlights some of the ways to take positive action, including asking brands ‘Who made my clothes?’, buying from ethical companies (there are some great Cornwall-based clothing companies who work with the people who make their clothes to ensure that everyone gets a good deal), and buying second-hand or vintage clothing.
I wrote this to support the showing of The True Cost on 18th March 2016. The event was generously hosted and supported by Epiphany House, Truro who also gave me some time to prepare this guide.
This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing? Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva.
Watch the film on Netflix, iTunes or buy/rent from http://truecostmovie.vhx.tv/.