'HERA Women' is our journal series dedicated to celebrating women who are living life in their HERA jeans. Created to uplift, inspire and celebrate the lives and achievements of all women in their wonderful variety.
This month we’re getting to know Renee Williams, from Repair Redefined, who is advocating for a world that looks to practices of the past, to pave a better future. You may have heard words like ‘darning’ or ‘running stitch’ from your grandmothers, but like with all things fashion, the trends come back and we think this might just be the case with repairing our clothes.
Renee is inspiring us to keep our clothes and love them more through visible repair - yes visible. She teaches all who will listen how to repair clothing to give them more life, but also more style. It’s all about embracing the mending and letting it be an expression of creativity. She tells us, “I’ll be looking for any way I can help influence a future where repair is again part of our everyday lives.”
What got you into visible mending?
I’ve been into sewing for a really long time. I learned from my grandmother and loved the challenge of learning to create garments. However, I always used my sewing machine for everything and thought hand sewing was hard, boring and too slow.
In 2017, when we went to China. I quickly realised that the clothing available there, while plentiful, was not of the style or size to suit me. I turned to repair to help my clothes last longer and started to really pay attention to caring for my clothes.
What inspires you most when working on garment repairs?
Usually the garment colour, but also texture. I like to play with mixing unexpected textures, for example, repairing jeans with darning wool. Once you learn the ‘rules’, they are just guidelines in my eyes - I love to play around with them.
I often take quite some time to ruminate over how the repair should look. Having endless repair possibilities is sometimes hard! I try to find a repair style that works in harmony with the garment and not only repairs it - but elevates it too.
What do you love most about what you do?
Repairing is just so satisfying! It gives me immense satisfaction to be able to make a garment wearable again. I love that there are no rules, if you have repaired your garment - then you did it the right way! The possibilities for creativity are endless, plus it’s a great mindful activity if you, like me, find meditation intimidating.
Renee wears her HERA Denim jeans with her favourite mending projects to date, a pink top with cream coloured stitches sewn in circles to cover up tiny holes.
What are your goals for 2022?
I’ve been working on creating a self-paced online course for clothing repair. My plan is to get that launched in the next month or so. I like the idea of having the lessons accessible anytime, so when a specific repair is needed, participants can just refer back to that particular lesson for guidance.
What are your big dreams for Repair Redefined?
I’m really interested in deeply understanding people’s barriers to entry with clothing repair and working out ways to lower these as much as possible. The statistics around the amount of textile waste ending up in landfills is shocking, as are the pictures of exported secondhand clothing that have been dumped in the developing world due to their poor quality. It’s clear that we need to buy less, buy quality and make it last. I’ll be looking for any ways I can help influence a future where repair is again part of our everyday lives.