(Video link here.) We love this video from 1943 found on the exhibition page of Mending Traditions, Cooper Hewitt Museum’s article, Make Do and Mend: the Art of Repair. The Make Do and Mend message was advertised by governmental campaigns as a patriotic duty in the 1940’s when materials were in short supply due to World War II. At 1:07 we meet chicly dressed Mrs. Quilty on the way to the bathroom…and at 1:59, Mrs. Weston modeling a suit made out of her husbands dress clothes.
Long out of favor due to the glut of cheap clothing, products and materials, mending and repair is on the rise again.
Repairing our damaged garments and textiles is an opportunity to rethink our relationship to our everyday objects. It may sound a daunting task, but it can be as simple as replacing a missing button, removing a stain, fixing a lining, hemming a pair of pants, or patching a hole.
British sociologist Jonathan Chapman‘s book Emotionally Durable Design puts forth idea of design that seeks to create a deeper bond between people and their material things, and foster a strong relationship between them. Increasing the durability of relationships between consumers and products will reduce the consumption and waste of resources. His compelling gist:
Waste is symptomatic of failed relationships.
We’ve been realizing that Chapman is right. We DO have a strong relationship with the things we actually mend (and consequently not much of a bond with stuff we’re willing to throw away). We thinking that an in-it-for-the-long-term bond should motivate what we acquire from now on.
“Waste is symptomatic of failed relationships” applies to our inner selves as well, not JUST in how we view stuff in the outer world, but in our view of ourselves. We can waste our personal resources and gifts by not taking care of them, or by having no relationship with them altogether. Repair, then, can mean, working to repair, or express, our hearts.
With thanks to eagle-eyed Susan Dworksi