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.
Every possible alteration
"These pants are wonderful! They are from a reseller in the UK, specializing in turn-of-the-century's peasant clothing, vintage peasant clothing… mostly French farmers clothing and it’s all incredibly patched and worn and sewn with the dozen different threads and different fabrics and different colours! And the clasps have been moved and the buttonholes extended - every possible alteration to continue its life has been undertaken on this garment.
Peasant clothing isn't really very common because if you didn't have that much money you worn more and more and patched it until it was completely useless, and then it was rags for the home. And museums, of course, have specialized in salvaging and saving the unique and the beautiful and the luxurious."
New York - January 2013
Photograph by Ellinor Stigle