Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Investing in your clothes - fix it don't toss it?

A new eco-related problem with modern consumer behavior is the tendency to throw away broken things instead of fixing them. It used to be that if your TV broke you got it repaired, or if the seam of your dress came undone you would sew it back together. Now that we have fast fashion, and constantly changing technologies and products, people are less and less likely to take the time and money to repair something that is broken. Instead they throw it away and buy something new.

I do my best to mend any clothes that tear or lose buttons. I try to get the most out of my clothing (especially since I've started this blog!). One thing I realized I do is alter clothing that I don't wear into something more desirable, so that I get more use out of it. For example, I had a dress that I no longer wore, but the print was cute. I ended up cutting off the top half of the dress and turning the rest into a skirt. Now I wear it all the time! I've also altered the hemlines of boring dresses and shorts, chopped off sleeves, and made jeans into shorts. The only problem is that I have a habit of doing these alterations 10 minutes before I run out the door for work in the morning... but that's just something I need to work on.

Anyways, I've been very successful in the - fix or re-invent my clothing - area. However, I've been curious for a while about taking things to the next level. So I conducted a little experiment!

Exhibit A: My favorite pair of black pumps, perfect for work or play. I purchased them about a year ago, for around $70. One heel broke off this summer. I was bummed.

Usually I would have thrown away the shoes and bought new ones, but with my eco rules hanging over my head, I decided to get them repaired by a cobbler. Yes a cobbler! They still exist! I brought them into the local cobbler near my work and dropped them off for about a week. Once I picked them up they were like new! The heel was fixed and they put new bottom-heel-pad-bits (sorry I don't know the technical name) on each shoe. The only problem was the price tag... $30!

OK to be fair I didn't do my research and just went to the closest cobbler near work, but really? $30? It's almost half the cost of the shoe. I would feel OK paying that much if the shoe was a designer brand and cost a few hundred dollars, and I'm sure the cobbler business isn't exactly booming, but still.

So the conclusion to my experiment? Well I'm happy my shoes were fixed and I didn't need to buy new ones, but I'm a little disheartened by the whole experience. I'm sure I'll get more things fixed in the future, but I think for now I'll stick to fixing whatever I can on my own.

**Just a side note: for technology items (like TVs) I personally don't think it makes sense to get them fixed. By the time you get a new tech item home from the store there is already a new technology or a cheaper version available. It's impossible to keep up!**

1 comment:

  1. I know the feeling! I've spent literally as much as a pair of shoes cost to have them fixed. But, on the bright side, You aren't filling a landfill with a pair of shoes, and you are supporting the livelihood of a local business person. Way to go Ellen! Loving your eco fashion journey! -Margaret