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Discover the lost art of "mending clothing" at the Fashion Fix Lab.

Workshop Event: Mon 26 Feb - Fri 1 Mar 12:00 PM

RMIT Activator, Carlton


The Fashion Fix Lab is a proud participant in the PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival's Independent Programme 2024.

The workshop event is open to the public from Monday, 26th of March (12pm - 2pm and 4pm- 6pm) to Friday, 1st of March 11am - 3pm). See website for more details.


In the context of circular economy and sustainable discourses, it is essential to increase clothing longevity by repairing it when necessary. Repair features in the waste hierarchy framework are often used within circular economy thinking to order strategies for the recirculation of products from those that will best progress us towards a circular economy. It's a strategy in itself, however, it also forms a part of realising other strategies such as reuse, reduce and re-think. Mending clothing is often spoken about as a “lost” art, however, it is a rich practice with interesting contemporary dimensions to it. 

 

Mending presents a commercial opportunity. Within Victoria, we see networks of conveniently located franchises such as Alter It or the social enterprise Second Stitch (which featured in the recent season of War On Waste) offering alterations and repairs from modern facilities. Independent repairers such as Choppe Shoppe combine repair with creative upcycling expertise. While Modern Mending is an online store with a carefully curated selection of materials for DIY mending. Fashion retailers are exploring ways to incorporate repair into their business, for example, the recent Kathman-redu project. 


Repair café at RMIT "Fashion Fix" workshop, 2023. Image by Vanessa Duque.


Mending is a creative practice. You might have heard the term "visible mending" which refers to a popular craft movement where artists and crafters darn and patch socks, jumpers, jeans and all manner of garments with bright, contrast yarns and patches. This is old-fashioned mending made into a beautiful statement, a celebration of the labour involved in extending product lives. This work is being exhibited in galleries (for example British artist Celia Pym) and there is a thriving publishing movement of how-to books to inspire the home mender, such as Modern Mending by Erin Lewis Fitzgerald. 

 

Community repair is a significant ground-up movement. At a community repair event, volunteers assist participants in repairing their possessions. Repair café International has 61 repair cafes registered across Australia. People are motivated to participate or volunteer at community repair events by the satisfaction of diverting goods from landfills. 


Fashion Fix at RMIT University. Part of the Paypal Melbourne Fashion Festival Fashion Culture Program, March 2023. Image Vanessa Duque.


Community repair is a significant ground-up movement. At a community repair event, volunteers assist participants in repairing their possessions. Repair café International has 61 repair cafes registered across Australia. People are motivated to participate or volunteer at community repair events by the satisfaction of diverting goods from landfills. 


The Repair café at RMIT Collective is a group formed in 2022, as a response to the growing issue of textiles waste and lack of repair skills across the community. We run community repair events at RMIT aimed at building a campus repair culture. The most significant of these has been involvement in the “Wear and Care” project with RMIT PlaceLab. 

 

RMIT PlaceLab "Wear and Care" Community repair event series , 2023. Image RMIT PlaceLab.


Fashion Fix is our research project begun in 2022. Fashion Fix uses both creative practice and traditional research methods to collect data on repaired garments for the purpose of informing discussion about durability and longevity in fashion and textiles. Fashion Fix is situated in the School of Fashion and Textiles and supported by RMIT’s Circular Economy Research Hub and RMIT PlaceLab. To date over ten community repair events have been run with RMIT, community and industry stakeholders to foster critical dialogue and action about the role of repair within circular, creative and activist contexts. We aim to continue to engage broadly with the community, and fashion and textile stakeholders. 

 

Thanks for joining us at Fashion Fix Lab. We invite you to consider the ways you might become a part of a growing contemporary mending practices, whether that be seeking out a local service, connecting with a community event, building a “stash” of mending materials for home use, or considering professional opportunities to engage in mending. 


You can sign up here to receive occasional updates from the repair cafe at RMIT.  

 

There are many repair and mending groups and resources that you can access to maintain and repair your clothing regularly.  


Have a look through the links below to find an opportunity local to you, and get mending!


Community repair networks and consumer resources 

Victorian Fashion and Textile Repair Enterprises 

Creative practice and inspiration 

Right to repair and advocacy 

Circular Textiles:  

Repair, mending and circular textiles initiatives at RMIT:  

 



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