Valuing clothes in an age of fast-fashion: a curriculum resource for designing mending.
‘Can we mend, not out of need, but desire?’ (Middleton, 2015: 267).
This project aimed to test the idea of visible mending as an approach to sustainable fashion consumption amongst teenage girls. Initial focus-group research demonstrated that this consumer demographic has little or no awareness of the mechanisms of the fashion industry, nor of how aggressively they themselves are targeted by such enterprises. In a society where we have instant access to cheap goods, education faces the distinct challenge of how to encourage sustainable behaviour when the opposite is so much easier, more available, and fashionable (not to mention a popular pastime), particularly for younger age groups.
The workshop trialled with students focused on designing visible mending techniques, employing basic knit, crochet, or embroidery stitches. With the aim of raising awareness of the advantages of craft and personalisation, the session was about understanding clothes through a different lens, looking at why and how we might value clothing differently. By not just teaching students stitches but also encouraging designing the application of the technique to mending, visible mending could be seen as an attractive way of keeping and customising clothes, inspiring students to challenge assumptions on the value they placed on clothing.
Middleton, J. (2015) ‘Mending’, in Fletcher, K. and Tham, M. (eds.) ‘Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion’, New York and Oxon: Routledge, pp. 262-274.