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There’s a Self-Repair Manifesto currently making the rounds among the tech crowd under the familiar slogan, “If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.” In short, they want you to learn to fix your bike and figure out what Linux is.

For the sake of our pants, we’ll skip the axle grease, but it’s worth considering what this would mean for your wardrobe.

To start with, you may want to learn to sew…

There are large parts of the fashion industry based on throwing things out the moment you’re tired of them. It’s bad for a whole raft of reasons, but one of the worst is that it suggests you never really liked what you bought in the first place. Otherwise, why are you so eager to get rid of it?

That’s why we advocate buying things you like, and making just about every repair you can to keep them alive, whether it’s resoling shoes (with help from the cobbler), re-lining your overcoat (with help from the tailor), or re-waxing your jacket (with help from an ironing board). The item in question should come out with a little more wear and a lot more personality—both very good things.

After enough wear and enough trips to the shoe repair shop, your shoes will be living breathing chunks of style—completely different from the sterile items you picked up at the store. The more involved you are in the repairs, the closer you’ll be to the shoes, and the more satisfaction you’ll get from putting them on each day. We’re not suggesting you join the cobbling trade (although you’d be in good company), but you might want to stock up on a little shoe polish. Before you know it, you’ll be making long-term patina-related plans.

In other words, paying for it is just the first step. Now you have to make it yours.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom