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.
Repair blow out
"I used to pattern make on the floor and so I’d wear through my jeans really, really fast and also I got these just after I had my son… so I was crawling around on my knees a lot and so I wore out all my knees. I replaced it with denim… and then that wore through so I thought, ‘I need something more hard wearing.’ So I got leather… and added this to the knee.
But because it is so much stronger than the surrounding area, it then blew out above and the [denim to the] side is starting to wear out and so then I added some linen.
So I hadn’t wore these in a little while because I had lost a little bit of weight and they didn’t fit me at all or they were really saggy and baggy I had always been meaning to take them in a bit. So this morning in about two minutes (laughs) I just snipped up the sides to make them fit me again so that I would wear them and they wouldn’t fall off."
Wellington, New Zealand - March 2013
Photograph by Aliscia Young