Behind the Seams of the DRL

By Christine Monroe

So, what is DRL?

Glad you asked! Our Denim Repair Lab extends the life of your denim garments by repairing and patching using textile waste. The DRL is all about creative reuse. For all you trendsetters, slow-fashion lovers and world travelers...we upcycle denim garments to fit your lifestyle. You’re making a statement and changing the future of fashion. According to Cotton Incorporated,  Consumers in the United States buy approximately 450 million pairs of jeans every year. The DRL helps us to simplify our lives by recreating the clothing you already own. You’re reinforcing your favorite clothing while also reducing waste production

What makes our method of upcycling unique?

Here at the Lab, we use The Japanese form of ‘visible mending’: Sashiko.

This method of Japanese embroidery was mainly used to repair kimonos since the 1600’s. Now, we are reinventing the craft to fix-up all your worn and forgotten denim. This unique embroidery technique not only repairs your clothing but pays tribute to the travels of your worn clothing by reinforcing them through geometric and linear patterns that create a decorative design.

Through the Sashiko method, imperfections are highlighted rather than hidden and give your clothing a unique creative flair. We believe style is made to stand out and the best stories are those that can be seen.

Take a look at how we take a pair of worn jeans and upcycle them using the Sashiko method.

Step 1: Asses damage and potential for reinvention!

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Step 2: Reinforce. Strengthen the weakened area with unique fabrics.

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Step 3. Sashiko. By stitching the garment and reinforcing fabric together, it creates a stunning and long lasting repair.

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Sustainability is trending - Check out these companies below who share similar vibes!

Patagonia's Worn Wear program: This program has three different ways of sustaining their clothing products longer 1) trading in your old Patagonia products for store credit at any retail store 2) Shop second-hand deals for top quality Patagonia products 3) How-to guide for caring and repairing your Patagonia clothing

The Denim Repair Project: This company is proudly 100% sustainable and zero textile waste when it comes to their upcycled textiles . Their process involves collecting textile waste from industrial mills repurposing it into yarn and various fabrics, which than are used to create premium quality textiles. Their own waste is used as fertilizer for Guatemalan farmers - How cool is that?

North Face is cutting waste: North Face is joining the Sustainability trend. The company is now refurbishing used North Face productions and reselling them, to reduce the waste of clothing productions.

The Renewal Workshop :The Renewal Workshop is cutting textile waste production by upcycling and recycling materials

These revolutionary companies are keeping the life cycle of clothing lasting longer through the innovative use of upcycling, paving the way to a more sustainable and eco-friendly world.

Next time you think of tossing those worn denims, bring’em to the Denim Repair Lab! No matter how battered, ripped, or worn your denims are, we believe a little embroidery and a whole lotta love can transform any old jean into something awesome again.

Wear. Repair. Repeat.


Christina is a sophomore Communications major and Shakespeare Performance minor, at Ave Maria College in Naples, Florida.  We're excited to have her as part of the MeWe team for the summer! 


jillian clark