Sashiko and Rafoogari: Recycling, Repurposing and Mending

Repurposing and recycling are a big part of our work, finding ways to consume less materials and repurpose what is already available. I believe that recycling goes hand in hand with mending.

Mending is an ancient practice across many cultures used often during times of need across history.

I myself grew up mending clothing for the family. That’s how I learned how to sew,  replace zippers or flip shirt collars (such a war time kind of save resources sort of practice).

In my own time with my family, I’ve used all my sewing knowledge for patching holes in a garment, reinforcing knees on a favorite pair of jeans, or fixing the back of a worn blanket.

Our friends know that when I visit, it is always fair (and to my great pleasure) to give me something they need mended while I’m there. 

Not too long ago, my friend Sava introduced me to the Indian term “rafu” (or rafoo, raphu, rafoogari as I later researched) meaning mending for clothing, the art of darning. I’ve also learned about Sashiko, a form of decorative reinforcement stitching originated in rural Japan back in the 18th century.

The skills, ability, and interest in extending the life of a garment seem to have been lost in our society. I believe it can be brought back.