To repair a garment and keep it in active service is to practice the skill of user-ship. It calls upon human senses to diagnose what needs to be done and the right emotional tone to carry it through. Stitching, darning, patching and remodelling oversee a subtle shift in the power relations associated with garments: for the work of mending, unlike the world of production, is about people not machines.
"This was my Grandma’s sweater… cashmere… bought in Scotland at least forty years ago. She died more ten years ago and I used to love her very much and when she died all her things were distributed to my many cousins… and I, you know, received this. And it had huge holes and I wore it with the holes for many years and this year, eventually, I decided to sew on these patches though they are very badly done because it should be here [pointing], and it’s here."
London - January 2010
Photograph by Sean Michael