Normalize Repair. All forms of repair

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

"Please, can we normalize clothing repair?!" visible mending piece on a pair khaki jeans. (Photo caption)

Although, presently, we still mostly associate wearing mended or repaired clothes with poverty and not being able to afford something new, I firmly believe that together we can change this stigma and introduce something new; loving and caring for our clothes, and other things, as an action and conscious choice to save our Planet and stand up against wasteful and unethical "norms" in our society and the industry.

It was not really than long ago that repairing clothes and, obviously, other things was the norm, and not just for those on the lower end of the scale, and patches on the knees and elbows were common. To mend and repair was also cheaper than buying new and that was important to almost everyone but especially those not so well off. But when it came to kids almost everyone had mended items of clothes. You'd grow out of them anyway in due course. But that was before “cheap” clothes and “fast” fashion.

When I see how people actually deal with clothes today it makes me shake my head in disbelief. Anything from hats, including woolly hats, over T-shirts to coats are being left behind, children's and adult's, in parks, for instance, and no one even as much as inquires made as to whether they have been found and taken in. Aside from that not that very old, in other words almost new to actual new, children's scooters and bicycles, for instance. And the same in those cases in that no one actually asks whether they have been picked up by staff. Some people have far too much money and absolutely no sense. No wonder they can't make ends meet when they behave like that.

We have become such a “throw away society” that it is almost beyond belief and this attitude reflects also on and in other aspects of society and life. Nothing is valued anymore, not even, at times, life itself.

Hopefully repair, the normalization of repair, the way it once was, can be part of our future again and that cannot come soon enough.

But in order to achieve this, we have to talk about it. Buying and wearing secondhand clothes is cool (pardon that phrase), repairing your clothes the same, and the same goes for wearing the same outfit again and again.

However, we also have to acknowledge my privilege here that many of us are able to choose to repair our clothes and buy and wear secondhand by choice. Some people do not have that choice. They are forced to by circumstances and it should not be a stigma to attach to them.

This normalization of repair does not just go for clothes. It should and must go for everything that we have and also simply keeping those things that we have that still work in good order instead of buying new just because we can or because a new version of the product has come onto the market.

Furnishing a home with secondhand is also something that falls into this department and everything, bar a couple of things, are fine when purchased secondhand; mattresses are one of the few items that best are not obtained secondhand, for reasons of hygiene.

While this was and is very much the domain of those that are the poorer in society it would do the Planet no end of good if we all looked at that a little more. Then again, on the other hand, if we all did it secondhand might be priced, by the unscrupulous traders, out of the range of the poorer people.

And, most import of all, whether as regards to furniture or all other things, is to no longer treat things as “throw away” items, even if they were not all that expensive, look after them somewhat more (again) and make them last by, if something happens, repair wherever possible.

© 2020