What’s going on here?
The UK based department store John Lewis reports that sales of its craft and repair items are up by 61% compared to last year. An increase in environmentally conscious behaviour, as well as the cost of living crisis, are thought to be behind it.
What does this mean?
The John Lewis haberdashery section is a favourite among avid crafters. Sales of repair tape and dressmaking accessories have boosted, with darning needles selling out. Clothing dye sales have increased by 24% especially black and blue dye, suggesting that people are restoring fading jeans.
This rise in sales is thought to reflect a changing narrative around repairing the clothes we own rather than buying new ones, as more people adopt the “make do and mend” approach. There has also been an increase in visible mending trends: using repairs to customize and enhance clothes using techniques such as embroidery. Check out designer Lily Fulop’s work!
The cost of living crisis is probably another key driver. However, the rise of interest in craft hobbies during the pandemic, may also be a big factor.
Why should we care?
The fashion industry is a significant contributor to the climate crisis, relying heavily on land and water resources (and directly on fossil fuels- in the case of synthetic clothing). Fast fashion and disposable attitudes towards cheap clothes make for a very high turnover of clothing, generating huge amounts of waste.
Waste charity Wrap calculated that extending a garments life by just nine months can reduce its environmental footprint by 20-30%. Mending clothes is both a great option for the planet and wallet!
Keep environmental impact on your mind when crafting
· Yarn can be made of acrylic fibres which come from fossil fuels. Prioritise natural fibres from an ethical source.
· Charity shops are a great place to buy second-hand yarn!
· Crafting is an amazing hobby but remember that making new clothes uses up material.
· Read more about the impact of fashion and why you should hop on the mending train!