Repair and Recycle Textiles via Rafoogari

Whether you’re a weekend warrior who’s scraped up a favorite pair of jeans, or a nine-to-fiver who’s just spilled coffee down a blouse, we’ve all had our share of wardrobe malfunctions. Clothes bear the brunt of the wear and tear of our daily lives, so rips and stains are to be expected. But it’s such a shame to simply throw something away all because of a little rip. Many people (especially those of us who sew!) are totally game to try and salvage their beloved garments. In fact, this need to renew and repurpose has its place in cultures all over the world. In India for example, the process of up-cycling is rooted deep in the nation’s customs through a practice called Rafoogari.


Rafoogari is the name for the Indian tradition of darning textiles. A bit of a background: as India is a textile hub, and the fabrics made there are incredibly precious, throwing them away is simply out of the question. So, as with the restoration of a painting, “Rafoogari” mend and restore works of art in the form of textiles. Their skills are such that once they have finished a piece, the repair is essentially invisible. Through this practice, beautiful antique textiles and the traditional techniques used to create them can be admired today.

Rafoogari Denim

Though recycling and repair are nothing new to our culture, we have to admit nothing quite as sophisticated as Rafoogari exists in our daily lives.

Or does it? New York-based company Denim Therapy is taking this process and applying it to your favorite pair of jeans. From frayed cuffs to holes, simply mail your denim to them and it’ll be taken care of. The repairs are nearly seamless (check out their before and after photos!). Rather than patching over the hole, the company takes a cue from Indian tradition and genuinely reconstructs the fabric for a perfect repair.


Jessica Bucci

Jessica has been trained in a wide variety of textile and fiber processes, traditional as well as computer-aided, which she uses in both her design and sculptural work. Jessica has also served as a teaching assistant for beginning weavers and drawers.