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.
"My shoes, these are by a very old New Zealand shoemaker, McKinlays. Really classic style, they’re desert boots. I wanted New Zealand made shoes which are kind of hard to come by and that I liked as well. And they’ve been re-soled twice. I got them because I knew it could be re-soled, the style was easy to replace.
And so I’ve owned them for about six years and wear them just about everyday, they are completely battered, but incredibly comfortable. Last time I had them resoled -because I walk everywhere, I just wear through soles like crazy -so last time I had them resoled, I just said to the guy, ‘put your toughest most hard wearing sole that you’ve got on there’. And so this has lasted for about two years. Which is pretty good…"
Wellington, New Zealand - March 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young