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Mend Assembly

Updated: Mar 14

A blend of grassroots maker space, local production, sustainability expertise, innovation and old fashioned clothing services.



Main Location: The Old Craft Room, The Mansion, 36 Fore Street, Totnes, TQ9 5DY, Devon, UK


Network Location: Currently operating in the UK in: Totnes, Devon; Isle of Weight; Kirkees, Huddersfield; and in Mas d'Azil, France.





Mend Assembly is a methodology designed to be replicated, adopted and adapted in different locations around the world by its affiliate members to provide locally relevant clothing goods and services.


 
A Q&A with Mend Assembly

COMMUNITY


OCM: In what ways are you a community and how do you serve its needs?


MA:

  1. By creating a physical space for textile and clothing practitioners to share their skills.

  2. By being an open and accessible space for all communities to inhabit.

  3. Through the social gatherings. We provide a physical space to gather, knowledge share and to practice all kinds of textile and clothing related activities.

  4. Through business to business. We make connections between other local businesses that wouldn’t usually be in communication.


EXPRESSION


OCM: In what ways do you nurture creativity, cultures and customs relating to dress, clothing or bodily adornment within your community?


MA: We preserve heritage skills but also basic skills within the community to allow care of clothing. We are based in Totnes, which has a real heritage and culture of second hand clothing. We are creating permanent spaces for clothes swapping, places for care of clothing and cultures and customs that are being lost in the global north. We are preserving and nurturing.


We are a non-branded space. We put clothing in a non-commercial context and through this, allow people to curate their own identities.


COMMON WEALTH


OCM: In what ways do you share your knowledge, skills, creativity and/or resources with others?


MA: We do this in many different ways. The concept of the space is that it’s permanent for knowledge sharing between practitioners. It creates potential for collaboration between practitioners and peer to peer knowledge sharing between residents and citizens. For example, we have a pattern archive on site.


We keep money in a locality, prioritising financial exchange between local stakeholders. We are a CIC (community interest company) so we exist to serve community interest.


We also guide and help affiliates in their organisational structure.


PEOPLE


OCM: In what ways do you respect and care for other peoples, the significance of their cultural expression and rights to dignified livelihoods?


MA: This is difficult within a location of limited expression.


We are an open space. Anyone can bring in their own textile practice eg. Kirklees use our space to work with refugees. People of more diverse cultures come and share their textile practice. The remit of the model is to create locally focused permanent spaces. Respecting and caring for other peoples is significant eg. Someone wants to set up a Mend Assembly in Lagos, Nigeria and this will develop locally. We provide a model and business concept which is very open. We have 3 basic pillars - programming, services, memberships.


We don't yet have well defined principles. Our most critical focus is localism and permanent physical spaces. These are foundational principles with a focus on solutions for sustainability. It’s evolving.


NATURE


OCM: In what ways do you work with nature to protect and restore the living world?


MA: We are very much about defining sustainable textile practice in the context of locality: Re-use, repair, share. Resident practitioners are selected because of their commitment to sustainable ideas. We provide sustainable solutions for other businesses, encouraging more sustainable and ethical practice. We help them to replace textile products with sustainable versions.


 

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