In conversation with Untied: mending clothes and mindset.
Each year, on April 22nd, people from around the world come together to celebrate Earth Day. This brings together a focus on climate awareness and what we can collectively do about it - wherever you are in the world.
This year, the theme is: Invest in our Planet.
Now there are already some great resources out there to help inform ideas and actions on how we can all play a part in climate change. Here at Buy Me Once, we know we have a big part to play - focusing on the power and impact businesses can, and should have.
If you’ve been with us a long time, you’ll know that our passion is how long-lasting, quality and durable products can have a positive impact on the environment. It’s the best way to save on CO2 when it comes to purchasing decisions. But, it’s not always about purchasing something already designed to last, it’s about caring for and fixing our existing items to ensure they stay with us for life too.
That’s why we were so excited to discover we share the same working space as the duo (Michelle & Ieva) behind Untied. We caught up with them to find out more about their mission, and what they do:
We’d love to know why you started Untied?
We decided to start Untied because we both dream of a slower pace in the fashion industry. Untied is about reestablishing the emotional connection to clothes and textiles through mending. When you learn a craft, regardless of which, you start appreciating the time and effort it takes to make it. We also wanted to recreate the traditional sewing circle, where people can meet to chat, share their knowledge and have a snack and a drink.
What past experiences led you to join together and start the Untied movement?
We both worked in the fashion industry for many years and were really disheartened seeing the relentless restocking, irrational buying practices and throwaway mentality. Michelle had been running her own clothing line Ever Rêve for several years, but had enough of the constant pressure to produce larger collections, higher volumes and more frequent collections. Ieva graduated with a bachelor's in fashion design, discouraged to make new clothes on a planet with an excess of everything. Along with her interest in marketing, she co-founded Untied to raise awareness of fashion and textiles waste by preserving the clothes that we love.
Have you seen a change in people’s mindset to ‘mending’ and truly caring for their products in the last few years?
There has definitely been an uptake in mending since we started Untied three years ago. This is probably partly due to the pandemic - people turned to crafts to ease their anxiety and boredom. But whereas before it was more of a niched interest, we do see that it is becoming more mainstream and people are becoming more aware of their shopping habits.
What does Earth Day 2022: ‘Invest in our Planet’ mean to you?
To us, this sits closely to different notions of time. Investing in our planet, our relationships and ourselves is to give it more time. We are so used to getting what we want immediately, but we cannot continue at the same speed in a truly sustainable world. Repairing something will take you more time than purchasing something new, but the time invested in it will be healing in many other ways. For us, it is about small changes - having patience with a small, local supplier sending something in three days instead of a big, online platform promising delivery tomorrow; repairing one pair of the five holey socks. And of course - keeping things, that’s also about time - letting things age, bring memories and be passed down.
What are the most common items people come to your workshops hoping to mend?
Knitted items with moth holes are really common as many houses in the UK are old and humid. We also see a lot of denim with holes on the knees and crotches. Often people bring in clothes to repair and they get impatient when the result isn’t immediately perfect or super neat. But we try to encourage them to be experimental and not too much of a perfectionist - the garment was broken to start with, whatever you do it will be better!
Through re-thinking your relationship with the items you already own, together we know our small changes in our behaviours can have a big impact on our world.
If you’re interested in the art of Swiss darning (perfect for mending knitted garments) watch this video to learn how.
Unsure how long-lasting products can help the environment? Take a read of this article
8 features to look for in buy-once clothing. Learn how to spot high quality clothing here.
13 long-lasting swaps. Find alternatives to repeat purchases.