All of this has made me increasingly interested in Japanese boro and sashiko. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of the aesthetic possibilities of mending. The concept of mending deeply appeals to me but seeing the creative opportunities has really been inspiring. There are so many ways to make beautiful mending!
I recently took a "Boro and Embroidermending" workshop at Ogaard Textile in Oakland and it solidified my interest. I think mending is really at the heart of slow fashion. Obviously we need to alter our buying habits to better support fair trade, organic, and sustainably made garments but the whole idea of "buying a better future" might not be the answer after all. I think we first need to take the advice of our grandparents and "make do and mend". We need to prolong the life of our garments, learn to repair, and slow down our buying cycle altogether, right?
So I'm having something of a love affair with mending this pair of beloved jeans. The sashiko stitch lends itself so beautifully to mending denim. I love the idea of visible mending for so many reasons--embracing imperfection, embracing what's been loved and worn, embracing the inevitable impression of time, embracing handiwork, embracing repair, and the list continues.
As you can see, the mending work on these jeans just continues to increase. I fix one tear and then soon need to fix another. I imagine that in a few more months I will have replaced both knees and the back pockets and then I can move on to another pair of jeans that need mending.
But I think the thing I find the most exciting about visible mending is the opportunity to embrace aesthetic choices. We can be bold and boisterous with contrasting thread, patches, or creating irregular shapes or we can practice subtlety, restraint, and simplicity in selecting thread, fabric, and designs that mimic existing lines and hues in our original garment.
That we really can apply our creative skills in strengthening and repairing our wardrobe. That these repairs can embrace both function and fashion. That the opportunity is really in the constraint. And that the possibilities are truly endless.