Would You Mend?


“A shirt without a button is rarely spared. Neither personnel nor customers have got the time to fix it.”
— Helen at Emmaus second hand

A button on your shirt is ripped off and lost. At your local library or second hand you’ll find an array of up to seven textile mending tools. There’s a tool for every specific mend between broken zippers and crotch holes in your jeans. You take a second hand button and a pin, insert them into the button attaching tool and press the new button on to the shirt. While you’re at it, you fix your jeans as well and head home with repaired garments.

This project has explored how we could lower the threshold of textile mending based on three pain points: time, skill and cost. The button attacher is only part of the end result. Through observing and exploring different ways of facilitating mending – a system of where, when, what and ultimately how to mend has been developed sequentially.

Overconsumption overshadows the textile industry with a yearly waste of 6,5kg per person in Sweden. Further, the industry accounts for 10% of carbon dioxide emissions world wide. Large scale economics makes it less expensive to replace than to repair and extensive research tells us not even the ones that know how to mend, do. Due to the time, skill and/or cost required – textile mending has gone lost. This is an exploration of how it could be brought back.

Keywords: Textile, mending, reuse, sustainability, system design, second hand, tool, share economy

Project info
Måns Olof Larsson