by John Russel Jones

I have been wearing a vintage wool herringbone blazer — circa late 1970s/early ’80s — that I swiped from my father back in the 2010s. It’s built like a battleship, unlike today’s soft construction models, and has particularly wide lapels. When the weather turned cooler this month, I was excited to pull it out because, with the 1970s trending, it seemed like it was finally ready for its close-up. Of course, this was the summer that some hungry moth decided to munch on it and now there are a couple of holes in the back and sleeves. I was heartbroken but then decided that, with some mending, it would still be right on trend with today’s emphasis on sustainability and reuse. Perfect timing, then, that I heard about this new program from WHR and Reigning Champ.

A Repair Project by WHR and Reigning Champ was borne out of a shared philosophy that eschews the culture of throwaway-ism. In collaboration with cult surf label, Western Hydrodynamic Research, Reigning Champ created this garment repair program with the purpose of giving a second life to slightly damaged goods that didn’t quite meet the stringent production standards of its Canadian factories.

Loosely inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken objects, WHR has restored and transformed a small batch of once-flawed sweatshirts into one-of-a-kind pieces — each repaired, embellished and chain-stitched entirely by hand. To kick off the program, a limited run of 100 pieces will be made available for purchase, priced between $250 – $275. The Project launches today, exclusively through reigningchamp.com and whr.institute.

So who can teach me how to chain stitch?