Textiles offer both form and function, providing shelter, protection, and comfort alongside style and aesthetics. Recent years have seen a rise in the production of fast fashion garments, making the fashion industry one of the least sustainable in the world. Garments are created in pursuit of fast-moving trends, fabricated with low-quality synthetic fabrics and construction methods that lead to their quick demise.
Before the Industrial Revolution, textiles and garments were items of immense value, passed down through generations. People designed, mended, modified, and updated textile goods to be used and worn time and time again, forming active connections with their garments. Today, it is far less common for people to form such strong relationships with their textile goods. I want to explore the potential for reviving such connections to our garments.
In pursuit of this, I studied how mending allows for interaction with garments on a more personal and emotional level through practice-led research in the form of workshops. Additionally, I introduced reactive smart textiles to the mending practice to understand how this material could impact mending decisions and outcomes. As a result, I found that there are ample opportunities for play and collaboration when crafting a mending practice. I want to encourage a new generation of menders to develop so mending will again become a part of our everyday lives, with the practice becoming more fun and joyful than the tedious chore it has been considered in the past.
I designed Mendkit in pursuit of these findings. Mendkit allows users to build a collaborative, playful mending experience, mitigating such obstacles as lack of material resources. It provides guidance on how to mend in a group based on my findings from the workshops, and offers basic instructions on how to get started with mending, including choosing materials and a mending technique. It also includes games to facilitate collaboration, sharing, and play in the mending practice.