Make do and mend became a mantra in World War Two-era Britain, when clothing — as well as food — was rationed. The Brits darned socks, unpicked and re-knitted sweaters, and took pains to recycle and reuse almost anything.
Patrick Grant, who has been looking to reduce waste with his various brands including Norton & Sons of Savile Row and Community Clothing, designed E. Tautz with a make-do point of view.
Working with students at the Royal School of Needlework, he created shirts with conspicuous stitching and signs of mending, knits with patches sewn on to the front and oversize coats, suits and denim made to look like vintage finds or hand-me-downs.
Taking aim at the speed and waste of the fashion system, he urges consumers to buy less, and not feel bad about wearing last year’s clothes. “How joyous it is to keep clothes and cherish them,” he said backstage, adding that from a business and growth point of view, he’s “happy to be smaller.”
The collection was charming in parts, from the white shirts with their mended holes and craggy stitch marks to the naif patchwork sweaters and sweatshirts. Faded fabrics for denim jackets and roomy tweed coats had a lovely, lived-in look.
Trousers and suits, channeling a Fifties mood, veered toward the baggy and unwieldy, swallowing up models’ skinny frames, their pants spilling over their two-tone loafers.
Time to make do — and spend more time hemming.