My Levi’s ripped around the crotch. They’re not a particularly special item of mine. 98% cotton, 2% elastane. Factory aged. Buying them was in necessity, not love, and left no residue of sentiment. I don’t have many fond memories attached to them, and I won’t mourn them like a lost friend after they fade.
I have a few pairs of Nudie jeans. When these ripped, I felt compelled to fix them.
Expensive environmental sacrifices were made to grow the cotton, and a hard labour of craft was taken to loom and stitch denim grafts and meld silver buttons together. It’s a shame to forget these into the recycle bin without a fighting chance.
Even now that I’m done with the Nudies, I still have them. One hangs on my door in still life, framed there because to me, its history is as art.
But why did I fix the Levi’s?
Their history may not be as beautiful nor as hard won as the Nudies, but they still exist. Someone had spent time to produce them, however slight. Someone had stitched them, someone had pressed the button on the machine that replicated the denim’s wash. They still had an origin, somewhere. A community had produced it. The Levi’s may have been on reduced price in the shop, but they still carried the cost of time and distance.
They are also a product of our society. My nudies were handmade, and I know it. My pair of Levi’s were made in Vietnam. Your pair of designer denim was made in China. Who knows in what institution they’re made, but I bet there was toil involved. I also bet my pair was cheaper than yours.
We want things to be faster and cheaper, tasty fast food for our appetites. I’m salivating at the thought of this pair breaking so I can embrace the warmth of buying a new pair.
So I fixed the Levi’s as a dam in the stream of our current behaviours of ‘Spend and you will Receive’. Receive goods, happiness, satisfaction, or the freshly minted key to closing the door to the pit of hidden human sorrows being filled up with too many pairs of jeans. Receive leave from the constant pressure of owning this, buying that, hide from Sauron’s eye of judgement.
Plus, stitches are cool. I own these jeans, uh huh, they don’t own me.
Want not Waste not. A stitch in time saves nine. I’m tempted, but I won’t recite Fight Club to you, but the message is there. I think it would be refreshing for once, to do without.