Interventive conservation


Timo’s reference to the sashiko no donza prompted me to reflect on my own wardrobe. Specifically about the clothes I have mended, or bought in a somewhat uncared-for state. Most of my clothing is second-hand, whether that be from ebay, thrift shops, or consignment stores. Initially, I did not do this because of any desire to participate in sustainable practice. Mostly I did it (and still do it) because I can’t afford the kind of clothes I want, and since a lot of what I am looking for happens to be quite a few seasons old. Of course, the cheap (er) price tag of used clothes comes with some wear and tear, sometimes more than the low price may warrant. As someone who is more of a beggar than chooser in the luxury market, I’ve been one to buy a leather dustcoat that appears to have been dragged along a 10 foot long stretch of cheese graters. Because, really, what the hell. How else will I find Ann D. leather for under $50?

I’ve never really been bothered by the worn appearance of clothing. I find it charming. Clothes that are almost human-like in their past. Makes you wonder what exactly caused the rips in the pocket lining. What kind of bag rubbed away at the shoulder seam? The right pocket is more worn, was the previous wearer right-handed? Does the cedar scent come from storage or perfume? What countries have these shoes walked on? It’s all interesting to me. Clothes that have latent stories woven into them.

My most recent acquisition is an old DRKSHDW jean jacket. Old enough to still have the long hang tag. The hem is worn, ripping. I’ll have to sew it. Since I have no sewing machine I am going to spend some time sewing by hand. I’ve never taken sewing lessons but have been repairing clothes for so long that I know my (amateurish) way around a needle and thread. Or so I like to think.

Some people have expressed disdain or even disgust at buying clothes in need of repair. I would like to champion the opposite sentiment. After repairing a garment to the best of my ability, I feel more attached to it. I’ve now become a visible part of my clothing’s silent history. I once ran across an ancient Lillies dress with a replaced zipper. Gave me some pause. Who loved this enough to give it a second chance after being broken? Could I maybe love it just as much? It sits in my closet now, next to my latest project.

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