We’re HUGE fans of Tom Van Deijnen AKA Tom of Holland at TRAID. His beautiful blog showcases his talent at mending knitwear in a way that highlights the repair and enriches the story of the garment, he’s become somewhat of a poster boy for the mending community. So we were completely thrilled when he agreed to take part in last year’s Secondhandfirst Week to teach us and a lucky group of TRAID customers to darn good and proper in our shop in Dalston.

Tom of Holland Workshop at TRAID Dalston for Secondhandfirst Week
Tom of Holland Workshop at TRAID Dalston for Secondhandfirst Week
Tom holds up a jumper that the moths have been feasting on and the mending need to save it.
Tom holds up a jumper that the moths have been feasting on and the mending need to save it.

We asked Tom what Secondhandfirst means to him to immediately adopt a more sustainable way of living:

“I thoroughly enjoyed being part of Secondhandfirst Week last year and it felt quite special to have been invited by TRAID to run a darning master class. There used to be a TRAID shop in Brighton and the TRAID Remade range was one of the inspiration sources for my Visible Mending Programme. Not only were the clothes an inspiration in themselves for being so creatively fixed up, it also showed to me that visible mending (in whatever shape or form) could be of interest to others, too.

What does secondhandfirst mean to you?

To me, buying secondhand means being careful with the resources we have. In my mind, resources to do with clothes encompasses a large range of things: labour, textile production, clothes that are already out there, waste generated from making textiles and clothes, land fill, etc. So if I want to be careful with resources, then buying secondhand allows me to be careful with many of these resources. That’s not to mean I never buy new clothes, but they are far and few between and I try to make sure I know about their provenance and where they were manufactured. I think that at the moment I only buy shoes new, everything else is either bought secondhand, hand-me-downs from friends, or made by myself or friends.

What tips do you have to create a more sustainable wardrobe?

In order to create a more sustainable wardrobe I think you need to buy clothes with the view of wearing them for as long as you can. Even when I was much younger and all this eco-fashion (or whatever label it is you want to use) was not even on my radar, I never bought something to last only a season. I always looked for style, not fashion, and even a £5 T-shirt would be worn for a very long time. Part of creating a sustainable wardrobe is shifting your idea on when a garment is worn out. For me, that’s not when a button is missing or a seam is ripped. It’s worn out when I have repaired something again and again and I can’t repair it any further. The other part, of course, is trying to buy things of high quality, so they will last longer anyway – this doesn’t mean it has to be new!”

We couldn’t agree with you more Tom!

You can find out more about Tom of Holland’s Visible Mending Programme here.

Find out about TRAID Education events to teach you the skills to give longer life to your clothes.