Garment repair is the meeting place of creativity and clothing sustainability. It’s a great place to be if you don’t want your garments lumped in with the wear-once-and-toss fast fashion crowd.

In an economy where money is tight, people are keen to make their garments last longer. Clothing repair initiatives are a great way to shift towards a circular economy by encouraging consumers to ‘Kintsugi’ their garments, turning damage into an opportunity for creativity and personalization.

All of this sounded like it could cause a real headache for brands knowing where to turn, and since we love a challenge, we decided to conduct a clothing repair study in collaboration with the Saxion University of Applied Science. We used three research methods, including a survey and three expert interviews, so you know we mean business.

Here’s what we found and how you can use the knowledge to encourage customers to care for their garments and love them longer.


Why is garment repair important?

Approximately 100 billion garments are produced every year, and roughly 92 million tons of them end up in landfills. That’s one whole rubbish truck of waste every second. Throw-away culture is on the rise, and people don’t wear their garments as many times as they did 15 years ago — a 36% decline if you want to get specific. Needless to say, it’s not a good look.

Encouraging customers to repair their garments is an excellent way to reduce your brand’s environmental impact. It also implies that your garments are valuable pieces worth preserving, caring for and repairing rather than disposable fast fashion fodder.

And if those weren’t all fabulous reasons to embrace repair culture, Digital Product Passports will be. The European Commission hopes to bring in mandatory garment labelling from 2026 onwards to help kickstart retail’s circular economy across various product types. It will require retailers like you to give detailed product information to customers at the point of purchase, potentially including materials, repairs, and end-of-life instructions.

Starting the process now is the best way to get ahead, and luckily enough, we’ve now got a ton of research to guide the way. Here are some ways you can make garment repairs easy for customers…


How to make repairs easier for customers

1.   Repair patches

Research from our study shows that patches are the easiest and most common method of self-repair for hiking garments. They’re super effective for tears or holes and can be made in multiple color options and materials to match the original garments. After all, repairs are only half the battle — the garment needs to look good, too. For example, children’s outerwear brand Reima offers sticker patches in different colors and shapes so customers can repair their garments.

Our research also suggested that transparent sticker patches are a good shout. Customers can use them to repair holes or tears while still allowing the original fabric and color to show through — this is particularly handy for one-off prints and rare fabrics.

Top tip: transparent patches are at their best when manufactured to be super thin. Not only does this make them easy for home application, but it also keeps the garment looking close to its original condition.


2.   Repair kits

Patches are fab for small holes and tears, but mid-level damage demands a repair kit. One of our expert interviewees recommended retailing repair kits rather than handing them out at the point of purchase. This prevents customers from losing or binning their kits and limits pollution.

By promoting self-repair kits on your website, in short ‘how-to’ videos and in social reels, you can reach people who are searching for tutorials on how to mend things. You could give info on how to use the kits, plus tips and tricks for how to care for clothes and ways to repair them. If you want a best-in-class example, check out Nudie Jeans, who offer kits and a great online guide showing how to use them.


3.   Give instructions via heat-transferred QR code labels

When asked what they’d like to see on labels, the top two responses from customers were care and repair instructions. Even more interestingly, we discovered that not all customers read labels attached to garments, and — worse yet — many cut them off to prevent itching during wear. Our solution? A heat-transferred QR code on the material itself.

Customers scan the QR code with their smartphones and are directed to video content and detailed instructions for mending that item. Because it’s printed onto the material, the QR code stays with the garment throughout its lifetime.

QR codes are a fab solution to the problem because they link to detailed information on the repair of clothes while also saving people from the pain of searching Google for info on mending your garments. Like a needle in a haystack, if we allow ourselves to pun once in a while!

A QR code transfer also creates a fun opportunity to encourage customers to get creative with their repairs. As well as showing ways to use kits and patches, you can also give inspiration for new ways to mend, like embroidery. While we’re at it, why not add a dash of whimsy by using a title like ‘Repair me when I’m broken’ or ‘How to take care of me’ alongside the barcode?


4.   Repair services

Let’s be real — no one knows your garments better than you. You know the manufacturing methods, patterns, materials and have access to like-for-like replacement parts (zippers, buttons, embellishments, etc.). No one is better placed to repair your product than you, so why not give it a go?

Stores like Zara, Net-A-Porter, and Uniqlo already offer repair services for their products. Customers select their repair type online and send their garments to the repair shop, ready to be fixed and shipped back to them.

It’s more viable than you think — a McKinsey survey on sustainability in fashion showed that 57% of consumers are happy to repair garments to prolong use. Retailing repair services and garment care products are an excellent way to keep revenue high while encouraging customers to cherish and care for the products they buy from you. It’s a win-win all round!


Have we piqued your interest? Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help your at-home clothing repair initiatives and to learn more about our recent study. We work with thousands of clients across the globe and own every stage of the process, so no matter how you want to tackle the challenge, we’ve got you.