In August 2013 I started my fast-fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, and abstained from buying new clothing for one year while I focused instead on making simple garments, buying secondhand, and mending what I owned. This was an attempt to focus on sustainable fashion while creating a process-based, social practice, art project embracing slow fashion and slow textiles. From this project grew my love of mending and my techniques inspired by Sashiko stitches, Japanese Boro garments, and traditional European darning to embrace the creative opportunity in repair. This allowed me to use my background as a fiber artist, my early training in environmental studies, and my passion for social practice to focus on a sustainable and inspired wardrobe.
As part of Make Thrift Mend I was awarded a grant to teach sustainable fashion workshops online. Soon after, I began teaching mending workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To my surprise, the mending workshops sold out quickly and I now teach workshops and retreats across the country. This work is part of a contemporary movement called “visible mending” or “creative mending” or what I sometimes call, “modern mending”. But it’s largely inspired by the Japanese embroidery work of Sashiko and the Japanese mending work of Boro but also looking to the Kantha stitches in India, the darning repairs throughout Europe, and how cultures across the globe repaired textiles.
Mending embraces slow stitches and traditional handwork but it’s also disruptive to the fashion treadmill and encourages what I call, “Mendfulness”. Read more about my thoughts on this work in this blog post here about mending, here about wabi sabi, or in my article Mendfulness published in the Mend issue of Taproot magazine. This work has become the center of my studio practice and Slow Fashion has stolen my heart for the foreseeable future.