Promoting Clothing/Fabric Repair

At Rodeo City Repair Cafe, we are fortunate to have a very dedicated fabric repair volunteer who attends almost every one of our monthly repair clinics. Our website, our monthly FB event postings and our printed flyers specifically mention fabric repair. We’ve also recently recorded a PSA for our local community radio station in which we mention fabric repair. Unfortunately, there are very few people bringing in clothing or other fabric items for repair. Our fabric repair volunteer wishes she had more “business”.
So I’m putting out an APB asking for on the relative success of fabric repair services at other repair cafes and for suggestions about how to better publicize fabric repair services. It seems that when people read “repair”, they immediately think toasters and bicycles, not torn jeans.

On a related topic, from today’s Wall Street Journal, Fast Fashion Aims to Mend Its Image With Repairs.

I was especially interest to learn of “The Seam, a digital platform that acts as an Uber for fashion repairs, connecting individuals or businesses with an army of independent fixers.”

Fast-fashion retailers including H&M, Uniqlo and Zara are trying to burnish their green credentials by pushing consumers to repair their old clothes, Trefor Moss reports.

Zara is launching nationwide repair services in several of its largest markets, Uniqlo is adding repair studios to a number of stores, and H&M premium brand Cos is working with a startup to help customers fix damaged dresses and jackets.

While some high-end brands have long offered to fix pricier products, the large-scale rollout of repair services is a new venture for mainstream fashion retailers whose clothes are typically much cheaper.

The trend could also threaten to cannibalize sales of new products.

This link should let you read the story for free: Fast Fashion Aims to Mend Its Image With Repairs - WSJ

We’ve had success by splitting off sewing/mending into a separate recurring event of it’s own. This was initially by necessity: for liability reasons, our public libraries surrounding Asheville NC would initially only allow sewing repairs, but we’ve found the library venue is much better suited for sewing than our comparatively dark and noisy tool library where we host general repair cafes.
Two things that helped us gain momentum at our sewing events:

  1. I started bringing in my own fabric repairs - clothing, but also my tent, my daughter’s stuffed animals…anything I could find and I took a lot of photos. When promoting I still draw from these photos to encourage people to broaden their idea about what can be repaired.
  2. The public libraries do a nice job of helping promote our events, but I think we really gained momentum when we reached out to shelters and other homeless advocacy groups. Our volunteers love to help all but are especially fulfilled when they can reach those that really need it.