Rebirth of 'Make, Do and Mend'

Korbond Industries - Make, Do and Mend

It was a familiar phrase in wartime Britain, when rationing, clothing coupons and the need to ‘grow your own’ was the order of the day. More than 70 years later and the concept of ‘Make Do and Mend’ is thriving once more, fuelled by some of the toughest economic conditions this country has seen for several generations and the demand for a ‘greener’ approach to living.


Even the celebs are doing it. On the day of writing this article, TV fashion guru, Gok Wan posted the following ‘tweet’ on Twitter: “Just bought some beautiful fabric to customise some clothes for the last of the Christmas parties. Bring on the sequins babaaaay!”

So, we know its en vogue right now, but what exactly does ‘Make Do and Mend’ stand for, and is it here to stay? Well, the Korbond perspective on ‘Make Do and Mend’ is a simple concept of repairing clothing and accessories that would normally be discarded and giving them a new lease of life. However our generations are taking this further these days as it’s even more about creatively adapting items to make them fashionable, providing a new wardrobe at a fraction of the cost of a new outfit.

In recent months the worldwide recession has, once again, forced people to pull in the financial belt, ditch their throw away mentality and come up with creative ways of repairing, altering, mending and embellishing old clothing. This shift in mindset is reflected in the changes seen in the stitch and craft industry over the past few months where sales of yarns, sewing machines and accessories have risen dramatically. The basket spend of haberdashery has increased as the basic tools of the trade become a staple of the modern shop.

For many end users it’s been a tough year; however this climate is a very buoyant period for those switched on sewing and craft retailers who have identified the sales opportunities out there and promoted their goods and services accordingly. Korbond have been quick to respond to changing consumer behavior offering tailored ranges and excellent promotional deals on core accessories to help retailers’ captitalise on growing trends and demands.

A large proportion of this retail surge is also down to the fact that this kind of crafting is an affordable hobby providing a much needed break from the pressures of modern day life. Adopting a ‘Make Do and Mend’ approach is not always about mundane mending tasks, it can be a really satisfying creative experience. There’s nothing like a spot of making, mending, altering or decorating a garment to focus the mind and relax the brain.

Many new individuals are embracing this arena as embellishing and customisation has taken on a fashion craze of its own as people get to grips with themes such as vintage and recyclable fashion. Within this crafters are actively searching for unique and interesting items to make or repair clothing and accessories. Top designers and fashion magazines are both ‘cat walking’ the craze, featuring safety pin embellishments and outfits made from plastic bags and rubber gloves.

Tempting customers to try their hand at making or re-creating has never been simpler. Many individuals have been inspired by the revival of ‘Make Do and Mend’ as they tap into their creative sides. The beauty about this craft is that it is suitable for all abilities and affordable to all. There is a massive opportunity for retailers to team up with suppliers to generate and communicate ideas and hints & tips for consumers. Imparting knowledge to the masses is essential to continue the growth and demand within the industry.

With more and more people picking up a needle and thread to inject new life into old garments, there’s also a real potential for bringing back to life traditional techniques that have not seen the light of day since wartime. Just imagine, our children and grandchildren could be having the same kinds of conversations our grandparents and great grandparents were having about needlework and garment making all those many years ago.

Combining the continued traditional demand for sewing and mending accessories with this new wave of creativity and passion there are plenty of reasons why ‘Make Do and Mend’ will be around for many, many years to come.

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