Conscious Fashion: Is the Middle East Ready for the Visible Mending Trend?

More and more brands and initiatives are popping up on an almost daily basis, all with a mission to slow down fashion and reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. In Egypt, brands like Minimal Cotton and Wekala have brought the idea of conscious fashion to the region once more.

In the UAE you have brands like The Giving Movement and Abadia that offer locally-made, ethical and sustainable pieces. Consumers are being encouraged to buy pre-loved clothes and accessories, and we’re all trying to be a bit more aware of where things come from, how they’re made, and the real cost of their production.

While the slow fashion trend has certainly made its way to the Middle East, visible mending is still a foreign concept to most. It’s only just gaining momentum abroad, along with other environmentally and socially conscious movements like minimalism.

But we think the region is more than ready for a trend that is not only kind on the environment, but also on your bank account. What’s even more appealing is that it gives worn and weary clothes a whole new life; that sweatshirt that you’ve owned for 20 years and love more than your right leg doesn’t need to be thrown away, but you can actually mend it in a way that adds to its beauty and charm.

The Japanese have a long tradition of visible mending, from repairing broken ceramics with gold, known as Kintsukuroi, to a type of stitching called Sashiko. They believe that there is beauty in scars and that they shouldn’t be hidden. Repairs are made in a way that highlights and embellishes, turning what could be considered ugly into something beautiful.

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When I write about Cultural Appropriation, I receive questions with their worries. They say, “I am worried if I am hurting you (someone) by saying it’s Sashiko”. Speaking of the Sashiko we practice, what I am asking is just a “try” to respect the Japanese culture behind Sashiko. Here is my answer. “If you worry about hurting someone by saying it’s Sashiko, then please do not worry. You are not hurting. Please keep trying to learn.” This is because the Sashiko was ordinary. I share more on my blog (Link from profile). ☆ In contrast, if you believe that you are doing Sashiko without any doubt, please doubt it. There is a possibility of hurting someone by “already Knowing”. Therefore, I keep trying to listen to the silent voice. As much as I have many stories to share, I am still learning. ☆ There is a case that I define as a pain & Cultural Appropriation. It is the time when people say they don’t care (about the Japanese culture). Not knowing is fine. We can learn. Ignoring the voice knowing there is a possibility of pain, and then not-caring is a problem. A big problem. Some say Sashiko is the art (of freedom). Even after I share some info, they do not listen to the (inconvenient) facts. They listen to only the things they want to. They go online to search for information which supports their argument. Once, I politely asked a person to share their resources because their words were a lot different from my understanding. Their answer to me was that they do not want to discuss opinions on the Internet. That’s one example of Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko. I am not only sharing my opinions. I share a series of (silent) voices. ☆ – – – ☆ 一気に疲れてしまった週の終わりと始まりです。怒りというよりは寂しさ。憤りというよりは情けなさ。12年前の日々を嘆いても仕方ないけれど、でも、12年後にその重大さに気がつくというのも、我ながら情けない話で。この12年で失ってしまったものは言葉では表しきれないけれど、でも、だからこそある「今」という考え方もできるわけで。昨日の投稿の皆様のコメントから引用しまくってますが、でも要はそういう事です。12年前は一人で抱え込んでた。今は一人じゃない。ありがとうございます。抽象的でごめんなさい。配信で話せるところは話します。 ☆ #Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #Boro #JapaneseBoro #InvisibleMending #Mending #日本の日常 #刺し子 #襤褸

A post shared by Keiko & Atsushi Futatsuya (@sashi.co) on

Conscious fashion doesn’t have to be a burden, and it doesn’t have to be ugly. We all have a part to play in making the world a better place, and the way we shop is one of the few things that are in our hands. What you buy and where you buy from matters. What you do with the things you’ve bought matters. So the next time you find a hole in one of your favorite t-shirts, just patch it up!

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