Repair Café

Another way of fixing our first world throw-away culture.

“In Europe, we throw out so many things,” says Martine Postma, long frustrated by our throw-away culture. “I wanted to do something about it.”


What she did was to open the first Repair Café in Amsterdam, a social space where people could learn to fix anything from vacuum cleaners and toys to jewellery and clothes - rather than dump them in the trash.


The idea quickly spread. This year, the Amsterdam café marks its 10th anniversary - and has now inspired more than 1,500 other repair cafés around the world. For a small fee, Postma’s Repair Café Foundation helps people in other cities open their own cafés. It provides a step-by-step manual along with other support and the basic approach is the same.


Volunteer repair experts show café-goers how to fix their broken items. “They like sharing the knowledge and helping other people,” says Postma. “It’s about doing something together, in the here and now.”


In the fashion world, as OGN reported recently in ReSelfridges, the idea of recycling is suddenly booming. Pre-loved, second hand, vintage - whatever term you prefer, it's all systems go. That's good news for sustainability and common sense, and the Repair Café is in the vanguard.