How can you fix your life

Repairing clothes: 10 tips

Button off, seam on, hole in? Throw in the bin - that is the fate of most broken items of clothing. But there is another way: More and more companies and initiatives repair, change or refurbish old clothes. This gives clothes a second life - and resources are conserved

1. Outdoor

A tear in your snow pants? A broken zipper in the functional jacket? No reason to throw it away and buy a new one - even the outdoor brands Patagonia and Vaude think so. Instead, they sell repair kits and offer repair instructions online. Patagonia even operates one of the largest repair centers in the world: 45 full-time employees in the USA repair around 45,000 parts a year, according to their own information. Simply send the broken jacket to your Patagonia dealer. Or wait until the “Worn Wear” mobile from Patagonia comes by: The small trucks, converted into repair stations, have been touring Europe and North America since 2013. Outdoor things are repaired there - or you can do it yourself. Patagonia's motto: The main thing is to carry on.

2. Jeans

The jeans brand Nudie repairs broken parts free of charge in many of its own stores around the world. Also in Berlin and Munich: Bring the broken (but please freshly washed) Nudie jeans there, have them darned and take them home with you. Levi's does the same thing: In some shops there are repair workshops that repair both jackets and pants. And if you don't live nearby, you can order the free repair kit from Nudie. And find out here how it's done - also for the "destructed look", for ultra-short cut-offs or the very personal denim look.

3. Shirts

Where do shirts always break first? Exactly, on the collar. And on the cuffs. It's a shame because the rest of the stuff - that is, over 90 percent of the material - is mostly still good. The Fulda-based company Brainshirt therefore offers a collar change service. Simply send in the Brainshirt shirt, have new collars and cuffs sewn on - and the shirt will "live" for three more years. And when the new collar is done: send it back in, receive a 10 euro shopping voucher, and Brainshirt turns the recyclable fabric parts into cheaper, colorful upcycling shirts.

The upcycling company Aluc also produces shirts - with a button-on collar. Choose a shirt - and order two other collars by email. Principle: Make three out of one.

4. Cashmere

Cashmere is expensive. All the more annoying when the cardigan has pimples or a hole emblazoned on the chest. The Cashmere Clinic in Munich therefore offers a "wellness program" for cashmere items, regardless of the brand. Just like us humans, this includes advice, care and treatment (i.e. repairs). Depending on the case, the Cashmere Clinic washes, dries, steams, depills or stuffs the cherished knitwear. Result: like new.

5. Suits

The noble suit is hardly worn, but cut far too wide? No reason to buy a new one. The company Möller und Möller in Hanover tailors suits according to all the rules of the art - voluminous jackets become figure-hugging jackets, wide trousers become tight suit trousers. It's worth it: because really good fabrics last a lifetime - and changing them only costs 10 to 15 percent of the original price.

6. Wedding dresses

There is hardly a dress that puts more money and passion into a woman - and wears it shorter. Instead of mothballing it forever in the basement, it can be transformed into a cocktail dress, evening gown, summer dress. Many bridal shops or tailoring shops help with shortening, dyeing and changing - Anne Wolf (Berlin) and Helen Bender (Mainz) are just two of them. Other providers in the vicinity can be found on the Internet under "Change wedding dress" + city name.

7. Alteration tailors

If the trousers are just too long or the jacket lining is torn: don't worry, there are remedies at almost every corner. Mostly they are inconspicuous small shops that assemble astonishing tailoring skills on a few square meters. Never been to the alteration tailor? According to a Greenpeace survey, half of Germans do this. But it's worth it: You walk home with a good feeling, something Salvation to have done.

8. Repair too expensive?

Sometimes it is more expensive to repair than to buy a new one. That too is no reason for the bin. Because repairing clothes cheaply - that's possible in repair cafés. They offer tools, materials and expertise, we are the repairers. The pleasant side effect: we learn again how to fix things - a knowledge that is rapidly being lost in our throwaway society. When and where the nearest repair café is near you can be found here:

9. Repair café too cumbersome? Make a game out of it!

This is possible with the fashion brand Golden Joinery from the Netherlands: Inspired by the filigree Kintsugi art from Japan, the players stuff the broken clothes they brought with them with golden threads - in a kind of meditative repair game. You don't need any experience with a needle and thread, but a story about its broken part. Everyone becomes a designer, the parts are unique. Because the golden threads remain visible - and are the trademark of Golden Joinery. The game can be ordered online for 36 euros here.

10. Do it yourself - or ask Grandma

If that's not for you either, think about whether you can sew the button on yourself. Or stuff the hole, sew the seam up again. It's amazingly fast. And repairing things is amazingly satisfying.

Most grandparents have two things in common: They have time. At least significantly more than young people or young parents. And they often learned how to stuff things from our great-grandmothers. So - why not ask grandma? She's probably even enjoying it!