What did you do the last time a button popped off your shirt? Or you got a tear in your favourite pair of trousers? Let’s have a guess:
1) You chucked out the once-loved but now-offensive item of clothing
2) The garment is now sadly sitting at the back of your wardrobe, untouched, unwanted
3) You took it to mum, dad or nan to mend for you
4) You actually got a little creative and did a bit of customising/took the time to repair it yourself
Sadly, option four has been found to be the least likely to be chosen. Millennials reportedly don’t possess the sewing and repair skills of Baby Boomers and the generations before. This is unsurprising. A change in education priorities means that subjects like home economics are no longer really taught in schools and more women entering the labour force means less time at home doing domestic tasks. There are obvious pros to this. But there also cons to consider.
Millennials and Generation Z often get written off as lazy and entitled but they’re also very interested in the environment and sustainability. In a survey, 46% of the 18 to 25 year-olds chose to spend more money on products from a company that behaves sustainably. This is obviously great. But sometimes there’s no need to spend any extra money at all, sustainable or not.
Remember the zero-waste mantra we’re following: Refuse what you do not need. Reduce what you do need. Reuse what you consume. Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. And rot (compost) the rest.
Repairing is a big part of reusing. And it’s a very handy skill.
In our ‘Swap Don’t Shop’ challenge on Day 16, Morgana and Jas discovered some alarming facts about waste in the fashion industry. We live in a "take-make-dispose" world where the simple act of repairing things has fallen by the wayside. Fear not, we’re here to make sewing cool again.
Jas did scouting in her youth and lives life prepared for any situation. Of course she has a sewing kit. So when, one day, during the 30 day zero-waste challenge, our pal Charlotte came over and mentioned she had a rip in her trousers, Jas was there to save the day.
The day’s sewing shenanigans also reminded Jas of her dress where the elastic had broken a bit. Enter the sewing kit.
While we were at it, Morgana also turned a long top that didn’t really fit into a crop top. We essentially had a customising sesh. And it was great.
Jas even used the leftover fabric from Morgana’s top to make a pocket for her phone and attached it to her sports bra. Incredible.
Sewing and repairing clothes is super easy. Having this one simple skill can help reduce so much waste and ensure that there are no damaged, rejected garments sitting in the back of your wardrobe.
Today’s generation might not be taught to sew in schools but Pinterest and Youtube tutorials provide education and great inspo for repairing and customising clothes. There’s a shift in the wind and DIY is becoming trendy, and if Millennials and Generation Z really care about the environment they should get on it. One of the reasons that high street stores are rapidly closing is because the younger generations are starting to lose interest in fast fashion. We know that clothes need to last.
To see the benefits of sewing times a hundred check out the work of 99-year-old Martha. What a good egg. Check out if there are sewing classes near you to show off to all your friends that you know how to make a hem.
The Ginger and the Vegan really enjoyed this challenge and have decided to take on more complicated sewing endeavours. Next stop, embroidery,