The other day I mended several pairs of my favorite socks. I can’t say that I went as far as “darning” them as I simply sewed up holes in the toes so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed in case I wore them on a trip and had to take off my shoes to go through airport security. I got to thinking how rarely I mend, repair, or modify/alter my clothing to extend the life of my garments. This most likely has to do with behaviors as a consumer of clothing: 1) I rarely wear out my clothing – instead, I become bored with them, they no longer fit, or they go out of fashion, or 2) clothing that is worn is rarely “worth” mending, repairing, or altering. On occasion I may re-purpose my used clothing – that is, use it in a new way – but that also takes time, creativity, and energy. I use old t-shirts that are stained and/or stretched out as cleaning rags but that’s about as far as it goes. In reflecting that I need to be more mindful about mending, repairing, and/or altering my clothing to extend their use, a few companies come to mind that not only offer a variety of ways to have their brands repaired but actually encourage their customers to do so.
Birkenstock, a German footwear company, has been encouraging their customers to repair worn shoes and sandals for years. On their website, they provide information on a variety of stores that offer repair services. I typed in my zip code and found 13 authorized Birkenstock repair retailers including one here in Corvallis (my hometown) that offers both in-store and mail order repair. Or you can follow one of several Youtube videos for DIY resoling and recorking directions.
Nudie Jeans, a Swedish apparel denim brand, recently launched a “Repair and Take Care of Your Jeans” section to their website. They offer several ways for you to repair your Nudie jeans: 1) selected Nudie jeans stores worldwide will repair them for free, 2) you can order a free Nudie jeans repair kit and do it yourself, or as they suggest, 3) you can find someone who will repair them for you.
Coach, based in New York City, offers free repairs on their handbags, briefcases, and small leather goods for one year after purchase. After that, they offer repair services for a fee. You can take your coach leather goods in need of repair to selected retail stores or send them to their centralized repair assessment location in Florida. For simple repairs such as replacing a turnlock, they will send you a new one with instruction for DIY repair. Their website also provides information about repairing other Coach merchandise.
Have you ever mended, repaired, or modified/altered any clothing to extend its life? Maybe getting new soles put on a favorite pair of shoes or boots? Maybe sewing on buttons that have fallen off? I have a box that contains all of the “extra button” packets that came with new clothing; but I have to admit that I seldom take the time to find the right button when one get loose or falls off – and this is coming from someone who mends socks! I know that one of my new year’s resolutions will be to be "on the mend” – that is, to make the time to extend the life of my clothing by mending, repairing, or altering garments! And, who knows, I may even organize those buttons!
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