On Saturday in downtown Oakland at the vintage clothing store OwlNWood, a tailor, a seamstress, a shoe repairman and a techie set up. A soundtrack of urban groove music played in the background, as the sunny afternoon brought in Oaklanders with broken iPhones and worn-out clothing.
Jamie Facciola, a former corporate marketing director, came up with the idea for Repair Revolution to promote a range of neighborhood repair shops in a single event. She originally tested her idea in March, when she partnered with the Small Business Alliance to host a repair pop-up. Saturday’s event was her first attempt to bring business owners and customers together on her own.
“Repair Revolution formed out of my search to find a business model that decoupled environmental impact from growth. When I went looking for that, I found repair. You can have infinite amount of repair without creating infinite amount of environmental impact. I was really excited,” Facciola said.
Matt Zieminski, an iFixit.com employee, said he came out to support Facciola because their business missions complement each other. IFixit.com is a do-it-yourself site that sells repair parts and publishes free online repair guides for consumer electronics.
“We have trashed Third World countries with electronic waste. We believe if people knew, they might think differently about throwing out their latest tech and try to repair it, to sell it, to upgrade it or something like that,” Zieminski said. Several attendees said they came to the event after seeing a post on iFixit’s Instagram account.
Oakland residents Joel Gilman and Lindsey Testolin stopped at seamstress Elana Bloom’s table with vintage T-shirts that needed darning. “First time here, first time doing repair,” Gilman said. “We had a bunch of stuff and we thought we’d bring it down. As long as stuff keeps breaking, we’ll keep coming.”
By late afternoon, all the craftspeople were sewing, tailoring, darning, replacing and shining. Several customers wore Repair Revolution buttons.
Facciola said she hopes to find a permanent space so she can keep the momentum going. She hopes that repair fairs will eventually become mainstream just like farmers markets, craft brew showcases and flea markets. Her ultimate goal is for Oakland residents to embrace her philosophy: Buy what you love. Fix what you buy. Love what you fix.