Mending is one of the things I am trying to embrace on my slow fashion journey. Sometimes mending is just boring and tedious, like darning holes in store-bought socks. But other times it can be creative, fun and empowering, like with this jumper.
A friend of a friend approached me with this jumper, once knit by his girlfriend’s grandmother. I have since re-knit the cuffs, repaired loose strands in the colour work pattern, mended tiny moth holes and, this last time round, darned and reinforced the worn areas under the arms.
And so the jumper lives on.
Stopping to think about it, that is quite wonderful. Something so small and seemingly insignificant as simple stitches, needle and thread, can nevertheless breathe new life into something old and worn. And with that, bring forth the history of the people, places and materials that formed the garment.
Sure, it is just a jumper. But on the other hand, it is also a physical token of a person’s handicraft, her skills, time and intentions.
Mending is a balancing act between old and new. It's about trying to make the mend as neat as possible, while also letting go of perfection and pushing through the fear of failure. A general life lesson, in short, to be found in the simplest of tools and in an act as ancient as our ability to clothe ourselves.
In the midst of the #slowfashionoctober conversation, I wonder what slow fashion really means to me. There are so many ways to approach a more thoughtful and long-lasting wardrobe, and in the extension of that, a more sustainable world. To me, mending is an important part of that story. Not only on the immediate physical level of being able to repair garments that would otherwise be thrown out as waste. But also in the more general sense of carrying with us a mending mindset; accepting what is good enough and finding ways to make whole again what was once broken.