The make do and mend trend was once a way of life. Craft techniques were once essential for mending and altering, but as time went on, the trend seemed to disappear. The development of E-commerce played a big part in the disappearance as it made replacing items much easier for consumers. During the 2008 financial crisis, the financial pressures sparked a comeback of the make do and mend trend as people adapted their spending habits to the economy.
The make do and mend trend is set to make its second comeback as the financial pressures of Brexit set to hit UK consumers.
Why did the Make do and mend trend disappear?
Mending and altering possessions, instead of buying new, has always been associated with much simpler times. In 2017, it’s so easy to order replacements online. You can even get your replacements the very next day with Amazon prime, and you don’t have to leave the house. The Telegraph’s 2013 article on the decline of ‘make do and mend’ insights how nothing is built to last anymore, and neither is it expected to with the economy turning change. Due to this, craft is now associated with hobbies and past times rather than being an essential skill. But what happens when the economy’s strength takes a knock and the purse strings get tighter?
The 2008 Revival
When the financial crisis in 2008/2009 hit, the inflationary pressures hit consumer purses and caused a reduction in discretionary spending. This meant consumers reverted to their craft skills to mend their items, as part of a financial crisis survival tactic. Not only did they not have to spend extra to replace their items, but they also practiced an affordable hobby.
Crafts like sewing, altering clothes and upcycling have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The techniques used are open to all abilities which has driven a continually growing demand. Crafters looking to learn only have to look online for information and inspiration. This popularity has been seen on places like Etsy and Not on the High Street, which are fuelling the handmade gift industry and giving crafters a platform to sell their handmade designs. There’s over 249,000 active Etsy sellers who create handmade gifts with their craft, showing how popular crafting has become.
Who’s mending and altering?
It was reported in Craft Business in June 2017 that the two growing consumer categories with interests in mending, altering and upcycling includes mums between 25 and 45 and students between 16-22. Both of these consumers are already budget conscious, so with rising inflation rates, they are looking for quick and cheap fixes. Mum’s are looking to create their own costumes and clothes for their children instead of investing in pricey new items. Students are looking to save on every penny they have. Because of this re-fashioning, up cycling and embellishing clothes will become increasingly popular, as students replicate fashions and designer trends.
Understanding these consumer categories identifies the potential for Brexit to have an influence on the ‘make and do’ trend returning. The craft industry may see a rise in the number of people taking up a craft like sewing. Taking up this type of hobby will help them mend and alter their own items, without spending heavily. Consumers will choose to ‘make do and mend’ instead of spending on new items as a Brexit survival technique.