Q&A with the Author of Mending Matters aka @katrinarodabaugh
Most of the blue bloods I’ve featured so far in this series are pretty hardcore raw denim fanatics. That’s not how I would describe @katrinarodobaugh.
But, with the work she’s done through her book, Mending Matters, she definitely deserves the spotlight.
In the Q&A below, she tells the story of how a ‘fashion fast’ and mending her jeans got her into the denim.
What’s your story
Name: Katrina Rodabaugh
Birth year: Let’s just say I’m early-40-something
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Tell us about your book and how you got the idea for it
I started teaching mending classes soon after I launched my slow fashion project, Make Thrift Mend, in 2013.
The classes quickly became my work focus and I taught thousands of students. But then I wanted to offer my teachings to folks who couldn’t attend my workshops in person.
So I wrote the book proposal, found a great agent, and we found a great publisher. But it’s based on my mending teachings and sustainable fashion project.
Katrina’s Instagram Feed and Blogging Background
Thomas: How did it all start with your Instagram feed?
Katrina: I was a blogger back in the day. I blogged every week from 2007-2015. Then I had two babies, we moved 3,000 miles from CA to NY, and I didn’t have time to blog. So Instagram became a great place to focus instead.
T: Why Instagram? What are your goals?
K: I love Instagram because it’s visual. But it also allows just enough room to write a mini blog. And it’s an amazing community of creatives.
T: How much time do you spend on Instagram on a daily basis?
K: Depends. Sometimes a post might take me an hour to write. Plus the photo. Plus the dialogue in comments. But sometimes I’m only on Instagram for 20-30 minutes a day.
T: How do you take your photos and which tools do you use
K: I just take most photos with my ancient iPhone and edit on the Instagram app. I’m very low-tech this way.
T: What’s your editorial flow?
K: In an ideal world, I write my to-do list each Monday and I write my Instagram outlined for the week too. But as a working mom with young kids, it’s often unpredictable.
I try to post 4-5 times each week with more regular, informal posts in Instagram stories.
T: What are your favourite locations to take photos? And why?
K: My barn studio. It has great light. It’s painted white. And it’s such an easy space to set up photo shoots.
Katrina’s Denim Style and Preferences
T: How did you get into denim?
K: I started a fashion ‘fast’ in 2013 after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Dhaka Bangladesh. As part of the fast, I couldn’t buy new clothes. So I started mending my denim instead of buying new. I first fell for mending, then for denim.
T: What’s your favourite feature of jeans?
K: The fibre. I love beautiful natural fibres. But I also love the utility of jeans. And that they’re so widely worn by so many folks of various lifestyles, economics, cultures, and geographies.
T: How do you wash your denim?
K: Depends on the denim. I have an awesome vintage denim work jacket that only gets hand washed and line dried. But I toss my kids’ denim in the washing machine.
T: What’s your favourite fit?
K: Gosh, just something that fits and feels great.
T: Which boots and leather goods do you wear with your denim?
K: I’m a fan of leather boots in winter, leather clogs in spring and autumn, and leather sandals in summer. I wear jeans all year long.
T: Which sneakers do you wear?
K: I haven’t had a pair of sneakers in a very long time.
T: Favourite item that’s not denim or leather?
K: Linen. I love linen. It’s a beautiful fibre, and it’s eco-friendly too. Plus, it takes plant dyes beautifully.
T: Where do you buy your gear?
K: Most of my clothes are secondhand, handmade, or ethically-made. But most are dyed with plants, mended with stitches, or somehow altered to be more meaningful.
T: What styling tips would you give your followers if they wanted your style?
K: Get clear about what you really love to wear. If you love something, take care of it, honour it, repair it, and keep it from the landfill as long as possible. Also, don’t be afraid of wonky repair stitches.