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Repair and Rewear: The Rise of the DIY Culture in Fashion

There is a fascinating shift that has taken place in the last few years in the way that the world is looking at consumerism. With inflation at an all-time high, “higher-end” and designer trends in fashion, interior design, or even tech, are out of reach for the majority of the population. The minimum wage in most cities is barely enough to support the city’s average rent, which does not leave very much wiggle room for spending.

Simultaneously, the slow fashion movement is having its coming of age moment. Consumers care about where their products are being made and what they are made of. Combined with the fact that a garbage truck of clothing is thrown away or incinerated every second (literally), more and more people are questioning spending on trendier items and instead trying to “rework” what they already have. Bragging rights of how long it’s been since buying a new piece of clothing is something we’re hearing more and more in passing conversations (the record amongst our peeps is 10 years!)

Enter: The DIY-ers

You really can learn to do anything on the internet today (she says, wiping away a tear with her student loan payment receipt). Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google, and 91% of people with smartphones will search “how to ____” before embarking on a new task. The platform actually reaches more people than any and all television channels combined. That is a huge statistic, demonstrating a massive opportunity for creators to meet the online demand for information. It’s not a market that is being overlooked - rather, it is being inundated by millions of accounts with millions of subscribers and views, and that is on YouTube alone.

TikTok is another huge platform where the DIY Movement is gargantuan. Millennials and Gen Zs are sharing, in 3 minute videos, different ways to recreate supermodel looks, build designer furniture, and anything they can really think of with materials they already have access to, or are at least very cheap or inexpensive/easy to acquire.

vintage black signer sewing machine

In Montreal you can find many of your DIY materials needs for fashion at JL Coupon, they’ve helped us out at BEDI to shorten zippers when we’ve been in a pinch and will even repair that old SINGER machine collecting dust that your grandmother left you.

There are many factors that make the Do-It-Yourself drug so addictive. Once you get a taste of the satisfaction of creating something yourself and completing the project from beginning to end, it’s a high that you will chase for the rest of your life. As a society we have distanced ourselves from the process of creating, well… everything. We no longer sew our clothes, we buy them. We no longer make our furniture, we order it from IKEA (We assemble it ourselves sometimes, but it’s not the same). We aren’t even making our own food the same way - we don’t grow our own produce, we buy it from the grocery store or jump on Door Dash for dinner. 


The DIY Movement brings us back to the process of creation. Why is this such a great thing?


First of all, there are many studies that show making things yourself is good for your brain and for your mental health. It is also a much more sustainable way of consuming, not only for our wallets but for our planet as well. By finding ways to use what we already have rather than always trying to have the “newest version” of things, we create less waste. If a button falls off of your shirt, it is better for the environment and much less expensive for you to sew it back on yourself than to throw it out and buy a new one.

What will be your next or first DIY project ?


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