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  • From the How-To Series: Embrace the Stain
  • Atelier & Repairs

From the How-To Series: Embrace the Stain

From the How-To Series: Embrace the Stain

For centuries, we have been taught to hide and remove food, wine and grass stains from our clothing. In our eyes, stains are a natural expression of being human, a reminder of a particular experience, good or bad: coffee with a close friend, an expensive fountain pen that leaked or the culinary euphoria you experienced while traveling.

Here are a few tips on embracing stains as a mark of authenticity and identity:

Stitching over

Historically, monogramming was a common habit used to identify an item’s owner through an elegant expression of identity: the font chosen, stitching placement and the unique icon of, say, a turtle. So, the next time you spill wine on your favorite shirt, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to remove the stain with multiple washings or sparkling water. Instead, bring it to a good tailor and have the stain stitched over.

Paint dripping

In the case of multiple stains, don’t be afraid to get creative. Go Full Pollack and paint-drip your garment. You could even stand under a building being painted. Contemporary artists such as New-York based Stash have perfectly mastered the art of creating striking works by thoughtfully dribbling paint on canvas.

Develop a pattern

Replicate a grass-like stroke on your less-than-pristine chinos repeatedly. Decide how consistent and mathematically perfect you want to be in customizing your stained trousers. You’ll be pleasantly shocked to see the resulting handmade camouflage. Reference computer-graphic Frattali artwork as a source of imaginative inspiration. You’re welcome.


The crayon stroke on your sweatshirt and wine splash on your white shirt are moments to celebrate. Grab a permanent fabric marker and write the date, time and short annotations on how it happened on your garment. You’ll have a wearable record of that particular life moment.

Garment dyeing

If the stains become too overpowering, we have a (last-ditch-effort) solution. Garment dyeing is no longer an exclusively industrial process and is now something you can easily master at home. Our suggestion: instead of changing the color of the whole garment, dye a selected portion. Asymmetry is key.

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