The Art of Repair
In a culture addicted to novelty and fast profits, the humble art of repair has declined almost to the point of extinction. But it’s not too late: In this issue, we delve into the history of planned obsolescence, and the reemerging ethos of restoration. From the patient hands of watchmakers, piano restoration experts, and veteran appliance repairmen to the story of a young French woman who got her country to ban planned obsolescence, we’ll explore what it really means to create, maintain—and truly value—a world built to last.
Every few years, some new razor system hits the market pledging to save your face and your pocketbook. Virtually all of them miss the boat, because the golden age of shaving occurred 50 years ago. The good news is that all that vintage gear is still available, and a few entrepreneurs are now making beautiful, modern versions that are built to last.
Written and photographed by TODD OPPENHEIMER
The practice of deliberately making goods not meant to last, or be repaired—a concept called “planned obsolescence”—was invented in America, perfected in America, and can now claim victory in leaving the U.S. with the world’s largest waste stream. Why are we so addicted to buying stuff that will soon be worthless? And what can we do to get off this destructive treadmill?
Written by JULIA SCHEERES