Mending is back in fashion. As more of us wake up to the 1.2bn tonnes of carbon produced by the global fashion industry annually, the impact of our wardrobes on the environment is getting harder to ignore. Harder than hiding, on the back hangers, that ugly but expensive top you wore a single time.
I messed about during home economics and textiles lessons at school. I messed about in most lessons, in fairness, but particularly when it came to learning to use a sewing machine. Put one in front of me and it might as well be the Enigma machine.
Now, sewing and knitting are common among my fellow millennials. I am in awe of friends who conjure Roland Mouret-style dresses from their own fingers, and patch up hole-ridden sweaters, eschewing new purchases; swapping patterns online and carrying needles around in their bags like paperbacks.
I remain awful at all of the above, but have come to truly appreciate the satisfaction in making and mending. Especially: fixing. I have always loved solving problems. When I moved into my flat, I refused to be beaten by a narrow doorframe when it came to a chesterfield sofa. A trial and error process of angles followed. For hours. This perseverence extends to fixing things.
My solutions aren’t exactly kosher, but I don’t care a jot, as long as they have the desired effect. Sorting a loose connection in a remote by shoving the foil from a chewing-gum wrapper in there; good as new. Noticing that two loose floorboards in my kitchen are cold on the feet, and stuffing newspaper in the gaps. Similarly, folded napkins under a wobbly restaurant table.
This isn’t fixing things in the traditional way, ie, properly. I’m not saying that sellotaping an extension cord to the back of a desk is the stuff of restoration experts putting together smashed Ming dynasty vases, but I’ll still stand back, hands on hips and admire my work, smacking palms together after a job well done. Actually, not well done. But done.
People more skilled than I am (read: almost everyone), will no doubt take gratification from repairing punctured tyres or reupholstering a chair, saving it from the indignity of the skip. All I know is, I am a champ when it comes to my innovative ways of repairing. In my head, I build cities from ruins and there is a vast relish in that.