Repairathon – Renewable

– This is Kate and no one knows better than her, the power of a jar of buttons. As fashion seasons have
gotten shorter and shorter, the amount of clothing that
we’re consuming globally has gone up and up. But as Kate sees it, we can avoid that one-way
street of waste entirely, if we start thinking about our clothing as something to be maintained
rather than consumed. We sat down with Kate to find out what happened when she started bringing together people who could fix clothing with people who needed
their clothing fixed and to discuss how a needle, some thread, and a jar of buttons can keep a lot of clothing
out of the landfill. – Repairing and mending are something that your grandparents, your parents would have taught you but it’s kinda skipped a generation. So a lot of people find
it so easy these days to just throw something out
instead of repairing it. But fashion is actually
the second-most polluting industry in the world. – The second-most polluting industry in the world. According to a United Nation’s study, when we look at fashion we are looking at about 10% of
all greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of all waste water, and more energy than the airline and shipping industries combined. So how do you lessen that? For the past six years, Kate’s answer has been Repairathon, a series of events that she holds that teams up with clothing
swaps and community programs to help give beloved
clothing a second life. – Repairathon is a place
where you have volunteers who know how to mend clothing and anyone can bring in
some items of clothing and we will do our best as
volunteers to mend that clothing, so that it can stay in
the circular economy. – So what exactly is the circular economy? In the typical life cycle
of an item of clothing, an article is created and
consumed and disposed of. In a circular economy, we take a crop, say cotton, we create a textile out of it which is then turned into a garment, that garment is worn until it’s worn out at which point you repair it, so you or someone else can wear it again. And when it finally reaches the point where the article cannot be repaired, it is recycled into the same
raw material that you need to create a new version of that garment. But this whole idea lives and dies by how
people feel about repairing instead of disposing. – The idea of making mending cool has been around for ages and is getting more and more popular, even upcycling clothing. We had a Repairathon over this summer and this woman brought in this
mustard coloured wool sweater and she bought it at The Fringe one year, it was 15 years old and it had a whole pile
of little holes in it and it was just her favorite thing and it was starting to fall apart. And we managed to use different colors and mend all the holes. So we were adding to the
aesthetic of her sweater and she was standing
there and just loved it. And she’s like, “I’m gonna get to wear “my favorite sweater again! “How fantastic is that? “And you’ve made it even better. “Now I’ve got more stories
to tell with my sweater.” So yeah, that was one
of my favorites I think. – That sweater didn’t end up in a landfill which means less crops to grow, less chemicals used,
less transportation time, and less energy wasted. And it all comes back to how you look at a
garment with a hole in it. Is it something that’s been used up or is it something you can fix. We wrapped up by asking why access to the Repairathon
program is so important. – I like to do Repairathons also at places where
there’s a social need. And one of those is the McCauley
Drop-In Senior’s Centre, ’cause a lot of them get, given clothing and it doesn’t fit right. So we do a lot, a lot of hemming there and that’s where I’ve given out
the most needles with thread because a lot of those people
really know how to sew. And if you wanna learn how to sew, yeah, really there’s so
many books out there. Even just going on Pinterest and Instagram and all those places you
can find fantastic ideas on how to mend clothing
and keep it in the cycle.