MEND MORE Jumper - purple, acrylic, large, and textual - is part encouragement and part disparagement. Its stance is political: overt, visible, legible, unmistakeable. Made as a placard for the Climate March 2015 it had to stand out from the babble of the crowd.
Having tried to wear it I realised I couldn’t – its acrylic body makes me uncomfortable but suits its purpose; it dries fast in inclement weather. The yellow lettering is cut from fabric scraps dug out from my stash, hand-stitched, patched, appliqued, not hemmed, not glued. It reads Mend More Bin Less, Mend More Buy Less.
at The Big Fix (2015)
MEND MORE Jumper (2015), acrylic jumper, hand dyed cotton, thread
on display in Fashioned from Nature (2018-19), Victoria and Albert Museum, London
That day I marched with the self-formed, self-proclaimed menders bloc – us, friends from TRAID and the Restart Project. We were there as our own critical mass, contributing to the greater one, and for our own personal politics. Staunchly environmentalist, all actively activist, all specifically engaged with mending, carrying out our duty to care for people and planet by suggesting repair as part of that. MEND MORE Jumper asks us to use repair skills for practicality, resilience and resistance, and to protect the planet.
I carried MEND MORE Jumper on a pole with a top shaped like a coat-hanger. It speaks about clothes and people, it has a human-like form with swinging arms. For me, MEND MORE Jumper carries a second order message. It was something else before and now is new, it s critical, political, subversive and affirmative, its power intensified by its previous life – more than graphics, its material supports its message.
Clothing repair has a strong relationship with women’s history and domestic labour. As part of the reskilling movement, we are choosing to relearn these skills and encouraging others to relearn them and use them too. In order to become part of what Emily Matchar calls the new domesticity – reacting against the reduction of domesticity into convenience, and ‘longing for a more authentic, meaningful life in an environmentally and economically uncertain world.’p5 - mending more and binning less has to be led mostly by choice, not by oppression.
MEND MORE Jumper has now been acquired the Victoria and Albert Museum, London