Fashion Is Broken, but Clothes Are Meant to Be Fixed: The Art of Repair.

The fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050. It's an astonishing and frightening fact. Luckily, it's one we are all able to do something about.

A report soon to be published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, supported by fashion designer Stella McCartney, exposes fashion's astonishing scale of waste. MacArthur and McCartney are calling for clothes to be designed with durability in mind, for them to be worn for longer and recycled and repaired rather than quickly disposed of.

There's a lot to be done, but we can all play our own little part to mend the broken fashion industry, by looking towards our wardrobes and asking: ‘What can we fix? What can be repaired?’

With this in mind, here are some fantastically fashionable ways to repair the clothes you already own.

Stella McCartney Ellen MacArthur Radically Rethink Fashion

Boro

The term is derived from Japanese boroboro, meaning something tattered or repaired. Before the 20th  century, hemp was much more available than cotton and woven together for warmth.  Boro was the means of repair, creating, and using up waste. Clothes would be stitched back together throughout generations, slowly evolving the garments over time. It’s believed the practise extends from a Japanese worldview called Wabi-Sabi,  which is centred on the acceptance of imperfection –because a fixed thing really is a beautiful thing.

Shoe Repair

There’s a phenomena in the Sugru fixing community; fixing, hacking and decorating shoes with Sugru. A typical shoe repair closes those annoying gaps in walking shoes or wellies. Another popular choice is to add educational patches to shoes, to teach little ones about left and right feet. The possibilities are limitless. To try it for yourself, check out our step-by-step guide on how to protect your shoes from scuffs and tears. 

Shoes customised with colourful repair putty design

Radical Knitting

Radical knitting expresses the idea that repairs should not be hidden away like a dirty secret. Radical knitters use bold colours, which highlight and celebrate their repairs.  Check out textile artist Celia Pym’s radical knitting workshop to see her inspiring work in this realm.


Zip-Sugru

This has gotta be one of the coolest winter clothing hacks ever. If the zipper on your favourite coat’s been knocked off, don’t consider letting it go for one second. Simply grab some Sugru and a humble old paperclip and re-attach it as shown in the pic check out our cool video to see just how easy it is.

Red mouldable glue zipper repair

Lisa Comfort | Sew Over It

Comfort is certainly an apt name for the owner of ‘Sew Over It’ - one of the best sewing cafés in London. It has large communal tables to work on, and Janome sewing machines aplenty. You can also borrow scissors, rulers, pattern masters, a large array of sewing machine feet and other general sewing tools. The price is £6 per hour including unlimited cups of tea! They also hold classes to help you get started. A great place to stop by if you need a bit of a push, or a supportive community to help with your sewing repairs!

Lisa Comfort - Sew it over

Woolfiller

Created by Helen Klopper, Woolfiller makes use of wool's natural, unique properties. When pricked with a needle, the minute scales within the material will open and automatically latch on to each other, creating bonded fibres where there once was a hole. We agree think it's the perfect combination of simple, sustainable, and satisfying.

Fiona Pullen | The Sewing Directory

Fiona Pullen is the founder of The Sewing Directory - she set it up to make it easier for people to find sewing supplies and classes around the UK. Through this organisation, Pullen’s been championing the make, do, & mend mentality, and has created a hub for sewers and wanna-be repairers to get together. The site also provides an array of handy how-to guides. Pullen celebrates the recent success of the industry, saying: “People are trying to be less disposable. Now they would rather buy something quality and keep repairing it.” So head over there and get inspired!

pink thread sewing station

For endless clothing hacks, fixing and repairing inspiration remember to follow Sugru on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram... and if you come up with an extra cool idea - #mySugrufix is the place to go, for a chance to win our Fix of the Month! We’d love to see what you come up with.