Did you know that the average garment is only worn 7 times before being thrown away into landfill?
I genuinely couldn’t believe it when I read it. In saying that, I am someone who has owned shirts and pants for over 10 years with no need to mend or repair them, so to me throwing garments out is just absurd. I donate them to charity because they are almost always still in good condition – regardless if they are cheap clothes or more expensive so its not the quality of them, I believe its the way they are cared for (which you can read more about here)
So then why would I say mending matters? Because plenty of garments get thrown away when they could simply be repaired; split seams, broken zippers, missing buttons, or tears or holes – all totally fixable if you know how (or know someone who can!)
I think we are so conditioned by our “throw-away society” that we feel the time to repair something is more costly than to throw it away and buy something new. But I think we should be looking beyond cost, and considering our impact. Besides the environmental impact which you will often hear me talk about (how long things take to breakdown in landfill, micro plastics from synthetics in the ocean etc) we can think about how our clothing is our second skin and the impact it has on our lives.
If we take the time, money or effort to mend our own clothes, it’s as much an investment into ourselves as is our skincare routine, or going to the hairdresser, or getting our nails done. We should care for our second skin, our clothes with the same love we give to our selves, after all it is a representation of who we are. Taking the time to care for your clothes, repairing them yourself where possible is a kind of mindfulness practice, a way of giving yourself time to slow down and focus; in the same way that colouring in mandalas or gardening are great for your mind so is mending your garments.
Taking time to slowly mend or repair your garments will also bring a new appreciation of them to you. Not only are you investing your time and focus into them, but you will remember the next time you wear it that you repaired this bit, or patched that bit, and the garment becomes more of your own than of someone else. We might wear the stories of the people who made our garments, but when we repair and mend our clothes, we weave our own story in and build a stronger and more lasting thankfulness for what they do in our lives.
Now not everyone might be able to repair their garments themselves due to ability, resources etc, so in this case I still recommend asking someone else to repair for you – and if you would like to learn ask if they can show you how its done. Remember that a loved garment lasts, and the more love and care you put into your wardrobe the better and longer it will serve you.