I slung a nine-year-old pair of jeans (yes, nine) over my left shoulder and my camera over my right. My mom’s 46-year-old watch was on my left wrist and a great aunt’s old, old opal ring on my right hand. Longevity, for me, means keeping stuff I want, either for its meaning or for its worn in perfect fit. But keeping stuff and not having to buy “new” means the need for periodic fixing.
It goes like this: You have that thing you need to repair, you are too lazy, ill-equipped, unaware or unskilled. So, that great thing just sits there, busted. Or, you go to Target and buy a sad substitute. More waste, more unneeded acquisition of stuff. Multiply this scenario by a ton of people.
In comes Repair Revolution to help us keep the stuff we love and reduce waste. It aims to bring repair under one roof where skilled craftsmen repair a range of goods. On Saturday I took my broke-down jeans to the Repair Revolution pop-up salon, hosted at OwlNWood in downtown Oakland.
Jamie Facciola incited this repair riot. The first time I met her and heard about her new business, I jumped up and down (a rather unprofessional gesture at a networking event). Stretching the longevity of things feels right, like what your mother or grandfather instructed: if it’s broke, fix it, don’t toss it. Her idea had me thinking back to the first years after the 2008 crash. Then, people began going back to repairing rather than purchasing and disposing. Repair Revolution taps into circular economy principles, including offering repair professionals a more affordable space to work.
Beyond the pop-up, Jamie says, “What I really want to do is open a salon that concentrates different kinds of repair artists in one place and makes it easy to fix what you love. And if we had our own space we could work on education for reparability, and we can help with material flow downstream when things have reached their end of life. I just think holding a space for repair makes a really a great community center.”
Kids had a close up view of how things work and how to revive something that may seem ready for the trash. Any kid who’s had a favorite toy knows the garbage is no place for it. Fix it, pronto. Adults chatted with each other and with the repair artists while they waited for their repairs, often talking about how they loved the thing they brought in, what it meant to them. One pop-up customer hauled in an enormous 30-year-old quilt for repair. The pop-up featured four repair artists including:
Elana, seamstress at Sweet Potato Seamstressing
Anthony, master denim tailor at Ferrario Made Goods
Steven, shoe shiner at One Stop Shoe Shine (Oakland Civic Center)
Sergio, iPhone repair at iSAVE Mobile Phone Repair