THE SIX-YEAR DARN
Tom of Holland
Tom Van Deijnen穿上他用上六年時間來縫補的毛衣，絕對是他的最高紀錄。
Tom Van Deijnen in his 6-year darn sweater that must be his record.
回味上年策展的FUTURE FASHION LAB展覽，當中有一件縫補時間長達六年的毛衣最為溫暖，令我更想念這位來自英國布萊頓的暖男，Tom van Deijnen。
Recalling my journey of curating FUTURE FASHION LAB exhibition last year, there was a 6-year darned sweater that reflected so much warmth, and I miss this sweet guy, Tom van Deijnen from Brighton, UK.
The sweater riddled with moth holes.
Tom：Tom van Deijnen
Tom: When I started the repair journey on this sweater, I didn’t feel that confident yet about my darning skills, so I decided to start with the small holes, and wait with the one big hole on the front (which appeared larger than it seems now it’s mended) and I also steered clear from the ribbing. I tended to work on the jumper a few holes at a time, for a few days in a row. Sometimes only three or four, sometimes ten or more. I would then come to a point where I just had to put it away and come back to it later, as, particularly in the beginning, it felt I wasn’t making much progress as there were so many holes to cover! I took the sweater with me whenever I was teaching workshops. and it was a good project when I was away from home and didn’t have anything planned for an evening.
Hand-stitching means I can stitch a seam or two whenever I have some time.
Toby: As I saw you designed and hand-stitched a shirt for your husband, how long did it take? Why do you choose hand-stitching rather than using a sewing machine to make it?
Tom: The more repairs and darns I’m doing, the more I enjoy hand-stitching. I’ve sewn three or four shirts by hand now, and I actually get more items finished this way than when I sew on my sewing machine. I don’t have a dedicated studio, so machine sewing means setting it up in the living room and having to tidy away in the evening. Hand-stitching means I can stitch a seam or two whenever I have some time. Making my husband’s shirt took around three weeks in total, but that also included altering the pattern I used.
Tom: This shirt is actually a wearable toile. I bought some really nice fabric from Liberty’s to make him a shirt with, but first wanted to make sure that I had a nice pattern that fits him well. So I found a different fabric in the same weight, the Pink Flamingo print, and made the shirt out of that first. Now I have a nice pattern and the Pink Flamingo shirt, I can start making the one using the fancy fabric.
Toby：關於你的Visible Mending Programme，這是一個持續的企劃嗎？已運作多久了？
Tom：我想直至現在大概也持續了七年了，我的Visible Mending Programme務求展現衣物縫補的藝術，尤其是現在越來越多人對時裝界的快買快掉的風氣很不滿。
Toby: About Visible Mending Programme, is it an ongoing project? How long has it been running?
Tom: Tom: I think I’ve been running it now for about seven years. The Visible Mending Programme seeks to highlight that the art and craftsmanship of clothes repair is particularly relevant in a world where more and more people voice their dissatisfaction with fashion’s throwaway culture.
Toby: Oh! What a coincidence! I’m in the seventh year of re-designing fashion too!
Tom: By exploring the story behind garment and repair, the Programme reinforces the relationship between the wearer and garment, leading to people wearing their existing clothes for longer, with the beautiful darn worn as a badge of honour.
Toby: Exactly! Can’t agree more!
Tom: By writing this blog, running darning workshops and taking repair work commissions I provide mending inspiration, skills and services to people and hopefully persuade them that shop-bought clothes deserve care and attention too, just like a precious hand-knit.
Toby：記得你在我們上年策劃的Future Fashion Lab影片中提過，你是一位自學的布藝藝術家，是什麼引發你成為手藝推動者？這旅程是怎樣走來的？
Tom：我從小就熱愛創作，我一直對布藝都很有興趣，只是我也很享受繪畫、針織和一切的手作。在成長中，我嘗試了所有類別的東西，成年時再重拾針織。當我開始學習縫補襪子，驕傲地穿上自己修補的第一雙襪子，然後隨着一個又一個的破洞，我決定認真學習縫補技術。經過這些年頭，我很幸運能和一些出色的藝術家和手作人共度時間；直到有一天我遇上了The Craftivist Collective的創辦人Sarah Corbett，令我意識到我的縫補也是手藝推廣的一種形式，於是我便開始思考更多縫補的意義，和透過縫補來延長衣物的壽命，並幫助人們對環境友善的關注。
Toby: Talking in our video for Future Fashion Lab, you told us that you’re a self-taught textile artist, could you tell us about the journey from the beginning? And what triggered you to work as a craftivist?
Tom: I‘ve always been creative since being really young, and I’ve always been interested in textiles, but also enjoy drawing, painting, knitting, and generally making things myself. As I grew up, I tried all sorts of things, and took knitting up again as an adult. When I learnt how to make socks I wore my first pair with much pride, so when holes developed, I decided to learn “proper” darning. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with a number of amazing artists and craftspeople. Then one day I met Sarah Corbett who founded the Craftivist Collective and that’s when I realised that my mending was a form of craftivism and started to think more about what repairing can mean and how it can help people care for the environment by repairing clothes and making them last longer.
Toby: Any new project to be shared with us?
Tom: I’m taking a little bit of a break from hard-core mending, but I am indeed working on a quilt with my husband. He prefers machine-stitching, whereas I, obviously, want to use hand-stitching, so I’ve managed to come up with a design that allows both of us to make this quilt together. We’re using old shirts and boxer shorts, some of which were made from old bedsheets, so for some pieces of fabric, it’s their third incarnation. You can follow progress on my instagram account.
Toby: What do you think about the future of fashion?
Tom: I’m really encouraged to see so many people developing an interest in repairing, and making things last. I also like seeing how many designers now use offcuts and fashion waste to produce their collections. It seems to be more than a trend now that the consumer is learning about the issues around fast fashion, and there’s a real appetite to find alternative ways, choosing long-lasting style over short-lived fashion.
Toby: Last but not least, could you leave us a message for our future?
Tom: KEEP MENDING!