#VisibleMending or How to Slow Down Fashion

My Mum always bought high quality tights for us kids. She used to hate those itchy-scratchy thick, uncomfortable, cheap tights she was made to wear when she was a kid, so she made a point of sparing us this experience. I had two pairs of wonderful cotton tights – a yellow and a white one. They must have been quite expensive, and my parents never had a lot of money anyway. None of this was on my mind when I decided, about 8 or 9 years old, it would be a good idea to take off my shoes, wearing those aforementioned tights, to win my games of Chinese jump rope (or Gummitwist in German, or Gummihupfen in Austrian). Of course, jumping around in the street didn’t exactly help to make my tights last; I completely ripped them open.

So my Mum made me mend the holes in my tights. I hated it back then, but that’s how I learned basic mending skills. She always mended clothes, that was normal. Every kid in my class wore clothes handed down from older siblings, clothes that were mended and amended to last longer, fit someone else. The idea of buying a piece of clothing to only throw it away after a few times of wearing it didn’t exist in my world. And I never got comfortable with it, even before I learned about fast fashion and how it is even possible to produce clothes so cheap people would rather throw them away than repair them and wear them to death.

Fast forward 30 years. Approximately. I’m back to mending my clothes. For different reasons. It is an act of resisting fast fashion and mindless consumerism. It is also an act of slowing down, being mindful and present. Moving my hands. Creating, being creative. Enjoying the concept of wabi-sabi – seeing beauty in something imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It also means I get to keep clothes I have worn so long they now carry memories and feel like a second skin.

I especially enjoy mending jeans, and mending them visibly, so the mending itself stands out. Jeans fit best and feel best once they are worn in, start to fade. Their indigo dye ages so gracefully and carries the imprint of their aging and fading away. This combines so well with the japanese art of sashiko and boro. Sashiko is a kind of reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery that was used to reinforce worn parts of clothes or other textiles. Boro means textiles that were patched and repaired, often over and over again.

To me, using these old techniques on my clothes, most of them fast fashion, but worn over years and years, feels like slowing these pieces down by making them last much longer than was ever intended. It means also slowing them down by not needing to buy something to replace them, thus buying less clothes and also slowing down the cycle of fast fashion.

Here are a few examples of mendings on jeans I did over the last year:

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This was my first go at sashiko. The stitches are quite irregular, but I liked the look of it.

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Blown-out bottom; you can see added signs of wear and tear on the stitched up part. The original textile will continue to wear out and the patch underneath will eventually surface. Once the sashiko stitches will wear out, I will add to the mending and reinforce it again.

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Small and easy repair on the bottom of a leg. I used vintage denim to patch the hole, a tiny scrap of jeans I got from my partner’s Mum, who is a seamstress and happily passed on some collected pieces of denim scrap for me to reuse.

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Reinforcement of a whole area that had become really thin and worn. It will also continue to wear out and the patch I stitched on on the inside will show eventually.

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Another blown-out bottom, also the mending itself has added some wear and tear over time and more and more of the patch underneath is showing.

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My latest piece of mending with quite minimal stitching. Don’t know if it keeps up, but if not, more stitching will be added.

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Not classical sashiko mending, but a classical embroidery stitch to cover up some worn out areas.

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Same here, the pocket seam was frayed and I reinforced it with a variation on buttonhole stitch, plus herringbone stitch for the other worn out areas. The whole bottom will need some fixing up soon, before it blows out completely. It’s easier to mend before there are actual holes.

If you have questions or thoughts about mending clothes or repairing your jeans, just let me know. Also, there are a lot of ressources out there all over the web. Check out these hashtags for inspiration: #denimrepair, #visiblemending, #sashikodenim, #repairdontreplace to name just a few.

 

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How To Change Your Mind

Recommended reading: How To Change Your Mind – The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan.

Michael Pollan explores the history of psychedelics and shares recent research.

It’s a really interesting read and covers perspectives on psychedelics from different angles like history, politics, society, psychology, neurology, etc. mixed with personal insights and experiences. My guess is you’ll most likely learn a few things about psychedelics you don’t know yet.

As far as I know, there is no German translation yet.

Another recommendation is Michael Pollan’s Netflix documentary ‘Cooked’, where he looks at food and cooking. Every episode nurtured the nerd in me (for everyone who knows me – yes, there’s also a part about fermentation).

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What is School for?

I’m a subscriber of Seth Godin’s blog, so this is how I came across this video. I ask you to watch it. I think Seth Godin raises important questions and explains things about schools that are worth knowing. Answering that question, what school is for, is important to understand where school comes from, and even more important when it comes to change school into what it needs to be.

My Digital Commonplace Book

After my last post I decided to let the idea of changing the purpose of my blog simmer, until I would feel a hunch to post or share something. Creating a structure or planning what this blog was going to be didn’t really work, trying to force it didn’t really work (let me tell you a secret – trying to force it hardly ever works), so I relied on what has always served me well – listening to my gut. Being observant enough to notice the hunch and listening to what the hunch would tell me.

A few days ago the hunch did speak to me. I found something I wanted to share. And with the urge I also knew what my blog was goingt to be about. Sharing bits and bobs I find, things I am curious about, things I am passionate about, weird stuff that makes me smile. Anything. Creating my commonplace book here.

I’ve always liked the idea of a commonplace book since I read about it for the first time in one of Austin Kleon’s tweets, that directed me to Ryan Holiday’s guide on “How and Why to Keep a Commonplace Book”.

I’ve since kept my analogue commonplace book, and now this place is going to be my digital one. A kind of a scrap book, if you will. Just so you’re not suprised, if the topics might seem random. I like randomness. A lot. It’s how my brain works. I hope you’ll stay for a bit.

Let me know what you think!

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

I decided to change some things and use this space differently than I used to. Originally I had set up this blog mainly for my photography. Over the last years my (creative) focus shifted and expanded, so I stopped posting regularly on here, as in my head this place was only about photography.

Lately I got rid of some of my social media accounts, generally decreased the time I’m spending on social media, and thought about how I wanted to use my time online. The thought of having my own place where I share my thoughts and things I work on/spend my time with started to feel right and I realized I already have the space, I just had stopped using it.

Strangely enough end of summer always feels like a time of new beginnings for me, so why not start changing on here too, and make it a new beginning of some sorts.

I don’t really have a concept for this place yet, I just know I want to use it for different things I’m interested in, and have a wider definition for myself of the things that can go on here. There will still be images, and I have a feeling there will be more words than there used to be. So, let’s see where this goes…

 

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Sunset, Donauinsel, Vienna. Summer is not over yet, but the light has already changed…

Power III

I’m pretty sure you all have realized by now it’s been too quiet around here. While I haven’t been shooting forever, I can still post some of my backlog, just to keep this blog at least going at a slow pace. Slow is better than nothing at all, right?

So, from the depths of my archive, another power plant. I’ll not bother about the technical stuff too much, as my selection isn’t really about the technical side, rather my favourite shots which include some sort of human side, or human traces, if you wish. My personal selection of pictures which gave me joy in one or the other way, and things I noticed along the way I found amusing, or beautiful, or human, or stunning.

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Thanks for watching!

90

While digging through my archives I found these photos I took about two and a half years ago at my great uncle’s 90th birthday. I still like the series so I thought I’d put them up here. It was a lovely day with my extended family and some regional quirks.

IMG_1011blogMy sister and her partner’s daughter having fun with the camera.

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IMG_1018blogYep, got caught.

IMG_1019blogMy great uncle is very fond of music and helped founding the first music school in the area. He also always was very involved in the local brass band. I don’t know about your area, but where I come from every village has their own brass band. So the local brass band dropped by for a birthday serenade. My great uncle discussing the set with the bandmaster.

IMG_1021blogMy sister being cheeky, my great uncle listening to the music. Still can’t get over the fact that he’s 90 years old, he looks so much younger.

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IMG_1027blogLots of shake hands.

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IMG_1033blogAnd more music.

IMG_1035blogIf you make it to 90 years, you get to conduct the brass band.

IMG_1045blogEven the local police commander dropped by and brought a gift.

IMG_1046blogListening to the speech. Not easy to impress.

IMG_1047blogAnd some more music.

IMG_1051blogMy great uncle believes in the importance of kids getting in contact with music, so he was very happy about all the kids in the brass band.

IMG_1054blogMy dad discussing a piece of music with one of the brass band girls.

IMG_1057blogHaving done their duty, time for food, drinks and party. Typical brass band.

IMG_1058blogLeftovers.

IMG_1060blogI’m repeating myself – brass bands!

IMG_1065blogOne last speech (it was a very short one), and then food.

IMG_1075blogFamily time. My brother, my dad and my great uncle.

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Lovely memories of meeting my extended family. And wishing my great uncle many more happy years to come.

Hotels IV

2014 wasn’t my best year photographically speaking. I didn’t shoot much, and hadn’t it been for two assignments I would have ended up with almost no photos at all. What I did a lot though was travelling, almost exclusively for work. So my hotel series grew quite massively. Here’s a new selection, edited down aggressively. Again – it’s not about aesthetics, just about how those rooms made me feel. Mostly work stays, mostly alone, luckily not all the time though! A bit of holidays made it in as well.

IMG_0874Bournemouth, UK.

IMG_1676Poole, UK.

IMG_2020Bournemouth, UK.

IMG_1897Berlin, Germany.

IMG_2052Poole, UK.

IMG_1858Poole, UK.

IMG_1530Essen, Germany.

IMG_1258Norderney, Germany.

IMG_1317Norderney, Germany.

IMG_1332Hamburg, Germany.

IMG_1927Berlin, Germany.

IMG_2229Poole, UK.

IMG_2351Bournemouth, UK.

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IMG_2679Hamburg, Germany.

IMG_2735Bournemouth, Uk.

IMG_2736Bournemouth, UK.

IMG_3022Essen, Germany.