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Make, Do and Mend

Make, Do & Mend

Research centre
Art and Design Research Centre


How We Repair The Things We Wear

The 'Make, Do and Mend' project explores how we might reinvigorate community-based approaches to the repair of clothing and examines the potential roles for online and offline activities to facilitate knowledge exchange, build communities and develop new repair processes and strategies. Until the mid 20th century in Western society, cloth was considered to be a valuable commodity and clothes were regularly maintained and repaired to prolong garment use. Today the value attributed to clothing has dramatically changed and the practice of repairing or altering clothing has largely disappeared. While there is renewed interest in the creative potential of mending or altering garments amongst the online and offline craft communities, within mainstream society damaged clothing is typically discarded to landfill rather than repaired.

‘Make, Do and Mend’ is an ongoing study that has been driven by three main research questions. Our aim has been to understand

  • what people think and know about clothing repair
  • what people currently do with damaged clothes
  • what is needed to support and encourage people to engage in repairing

During the study we have been surveying the wider community to capture a general picture of attitudes towards clothing repair. We are also running a series of practical workshops where different approaches to the repair of garments are observed and recorded.

‘Make, Do and Mend’ is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the ‘Imagine’ project’ at Sheffield Hallam University, which brings together researchers from the Communication and Computing, and Art and Design Research Centres, and the Material and Engineering Research Institute. With expertise in sociology, human-centred design and technology, sustainable fashion design, material science and well-being, the team is led by Dr Alison Gwilt, and includes Professor Alison Adam, Professor Daniela Petrelli, Dr Karen Vernon-Parry, and Dr Claire Craig.

For further information, contact Dr Alison Gwilt.

Researchers involved

Professor Daniela Petrelli - Professor in Interaction Design

Dr Alison Gwilt - Reader in Fashion and Sustainability

Dr Claire Craig - Member of Lab4Living, Senior Lecturer Occupational Therapy

Professor Alison Adam - Professor of Science, Technology and Society

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