A Love Letter to Visible Mending
Visible mending is a trend that is growing in popularity as a sustainable and creative way to extend the life of clothing and textiles. It’s all about embracing the signs of wear and tear and making them into a feature, rather than trying to hide them away.
Originally from Japan, “sashiko” mending is a traditional Japanese technique that has been around for centuries. It involves using a running stitch to repair and reinforce clothing and textiles. The technique can be used to repair holes, tears, or worn areas, and the stitches are often done in a decorative pattern. This creates a unique, one-of-a-kind look that is both beautiful and functional.
The trend of visible mending is also about embracing the idea of wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in the imperfect. Visible mending encourages us to appreciate the clothes we already own, and to celebrate the natural wear and tear that comes with everyday use. It’s about highlighting the unique character and history of our clothes, and making them into something beautiful.
*I feel compelled to emphasize that I am not an expert in either of these Japanese traditions. While I want to embrace the sustainable approach, let’s avoid cultural appropriation and head to Japanese creators to learn more.*
Visible mending is not just about repairing clothes, it’s also about valuing the clothes you already own. Instead of buying new clothes, you can repair the ones you already have, and in doing so, you’re also reducing your environmental footprint. By making visible mends, you’re also giving your clothes a new life, and a new story.
I thrifted this sweater without trying it on (big mistake, HUGE) and it wasn’t until later at home that I realized that there was a large hole in the shoulder. Rather than try to sew up the knit from the inside, I chose visible mending and embroidered using a mix of colours and embroidery techniques.
Visible mending is not only a creative and sustainable way to extend the life of clothing, but it is also a way to embrace the natural wear and tear of our clothes, and to find beauty in the imperfect. The next time you have a hole in your clothes, give it a new life and add to its story with a this fun repair technique.