Estilo Upholstery, New York
Interior designers rave about this Brooklyn‑based shop, which offers impeccable, speedy, good-value repairs of sofas and chairs. Much of its impressive work is in the radical makeover category: beautifully shaped midcentury pieces with lovely frames are reborn when torn or worn leather is switched for, say, soft wool bouclé. 612 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211; +1212-473 1735 Hannah Marriott

Jewellery & timepieces

The Clock Clinic, London

The Clock Clinic in Putney
The Clock Clinic in Putney © Lesley Lau

This family-run clock repair and restoration business, with a workshop and showroom in south-west London, has been operating for nearly 50 years. Director and third owner Alastair Chandler is currently a steward of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

The clinic repairs and restores all kinds of timepieces
The clinic repairs and restores all kinds of timepieces © Lesley Lau
Clock parts in the workshop
Clock parts in the workshop © Lesley Lau

The clinic repairs and sells everything from longcase or grandfather clocks to elegant French mantel clocks, and classic pocket and wristwatches (they did a beautiful job on my 19th-century mahogany barometer). Part of its business mission is to keep specialist repair shop skills alive and it takes on trade apprentices and graduate trainees. 85 Lower Richmond Road, London SW15; SG 

Julian Watch Repair Corp, Miami
Cubans have the reputation of being able to fix anything. Julian Pelea is proof of that. A maestro relojero (master watch repairman), he left the island in 1998 and set up shop next to a 7-Eleven at a strip mall in Miami’s Key Biscayne neighbourhood. Pelea’s skills extend from servicing 18th-century English pocket watches to modern pieces. Need to fix a Rolex? No problem. Now edging into his 70s, Pelea takes his own proud time doing things, and service is best if you speak Spanish. 53 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, FL 33149; John Paul Rathbone

Felt, London

Eliza Poklewski Koziell in Felt, Chelsea
Eliza Poklewski Koziell in Felt, Chelsea © Lesley Lau

Founded in 2006 by Eliza Poklewski Koziell, this charming jewellery dealer on Chelsea Green has a unique bartering system. Old, new, costume – really everything can be found in this tiny corner store.

Repairs, redesigns and vintage jewellery are all available
Repairs, redesigns and vintage jewellery are all available © Lesley Lau
A selection of necklaces, bracelets and pendants
A selection of necklaces, bracelets and pendants © Lesley Lau

It also offers a repair service, so if your gold needs re-plating, your earrings need fixing or even if you want to redesign a piece, this is the place for you. 53 Godfrey Street, London SW3; 020-7349 8829; Fiona Golfar


The Workhouse Gallery, Wales

A rug by The Workhouse Gallery
A rug by The Workhouse Gallery

Have you worn a hole in your Axminster or kilim? David and Sara Bamford are restorers and conservers of antique rugs and carpets, and handweavers of bespoke carpets, mainly for historic houses and public buildings. They apply dyes, similar to those used in the 19th century, that produce up to 600 colours with sympathetic degrees of striation for authenticity, and have specialised in working with large carpets, especially for historic houses including Castle Howard, Alnwick Castle, the Bank of England and 10 Downing Street. Presteigne, Powys LD8 2UF; 01544-267 864 Simon Greaves 


The Seam, UK

Tailoring service The Seam offers virtual consultations
Tailoring service The Seam offers virtual consultations © The Seam

This on-demand tailoring service, founded by Layla Sargent in 2019, has just launched partnerships with Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet. Alison Loehnis, ad interim CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter, says it “is designed to ensure that the pieces our customers buy from us can be cherished for years to come”. After a virtual consultation, The Seam connects users with local dressmakers and tailors, with prices starting from £3 and most services completed within 10 days. Jessica Salter

Rixo, London

Rixo’s dedicated alterations space in its King’s Road store
Rixo’s dedicated alterations space in its King’s Road store © Megan Taylor

After being inundated with requests from customers about how to alter their dresses, Rixo planned a dedicated alterations space – complete with neon signage – at the front of its flagship London store when it opened earlier this year. The space is run by Liudmyla Kirk, the brand’s alteration and repairs specialist, who can tailor new and vintage styles, including bridalwear – and who worked with co-founder Orlagh McCloskey on her own wedding dress. Alterations start from £25, and appointments are advised (though not necessary). JS

L’Art de l’Aiguille, Paris  
Hidden away in the quiet Rue Régis, just off St-Germain-des-Prés in the heart of Paris, from the outside this looks like a messy, dusty alterations shop, but don’t be fooled. Some of the chicest ladies of Paris come in and out. No matter how tricksy some of my fashion items have been (some of my demands are millimetre-perfect), no hidden button or deconstructed cut has been unmanageable. Monsieur Kemal Gunyar, a master tailor with more than 20 years of experience, can help you update your wardrobe and revive your favourite suits in no time. Isabelle Kountoure

Collingwood-Norris Design, UK

A pair of socks darned with Flora Collingwood-Norris’s “visible mending” technique
A pair of socks darned with Flora Collingwood-Norris’s “visible mending” technique © Rose+Julien Ltd

“I’ve never been one to throw a jumper away,” says Flora Collingwood-Norris, a knitwear designer based in the Scottish Borders, whose CV includes catwalk pieces for Christopher Kane and an eponymous line of lambswool accessories. Her take on “visible mending” began with her own puppy-chewed sweaters and has grown into a repair service, how-to guides, workshops and a book. “Every hole becomes a design opportunity,” she says of the moth damage or worn elbows that she darns into patterned patches, sometimes with extra embroidery. “I see what I do as a bespoke service.” Whenever she has time for repair commissions, she announces them on her newsletter. From £40 for a small hole, elbows from £150 each; Victoria Woodcock

Invisible Menders of Knightsbridge, London
This family business offers excellent alterations and world-class invisible mending. When those moths munch their way through your very best “old Celine” cashmere jumper, don’t panic: they will sort your sartorial disasters and return them as good as new. The business has been in the capable hands of Nina Rayit for more than 30 years and nothing is too much of a challenge. Prices start at around £50-£60 for a medium-sized hole but, as they say, “Everything is negotiable! We like to take good care of our customers.” This must come as good news to Rishi Sunak, whose picture is hanging on their wall of fame. 161 Gloucester Road, London SW7; 020-7373 0514 FG

Save Your Wardrobe

Patching by Save Your Wardrobe
Patching by Save Your Wardrobe

Save Your Wardrobe uses AI to help you “digitise” your garments (you upload photos of your clothes into the app) with the aim of helping you wear what you already own more often, rather than buying new. Part of its commitment to circular fashion includes a repair offering, with prices starting from £3.50 to replace a button. The collection service is now available throughout the UK and in Germany, through partnerships with online fashion platform Zalando and Hugo Boss. JS

Toast, UK

Toast Darning at Toast Repair
Darning at Toast Repair

Toast Repair is a free (within limits; relining, for example, involves a fee) mending service that offers to spruce up any Toast item – no matter how old it is. The repair specialists – based at selected UK stores – offers the best kind of repair service, from Sashiko repair, darning and patching to appliqué. Visible mending is often favoured – celebrating the knocks and bumps the garment has lived through and making it a unique piece. A separate collection – Toast Renewed – is a collection of damaged or returned clothes that the repair team have creatively repaired using traditional techniques. JS

Sojo, London

Sojo has a door-to-door repair service
Sojo has a door-to-door repair service © Celia Hodgson

This fashion-tech platform and app started by 25-year-old entrepreneur Josephine Philips in 2021 offers rescue for distressed clothes languishing in the corners of wardrobes across London. The door-to-door service includes repairs and alterations for individuals and brands (to reduce returns). Sojo has recently acquired zero-emissions courier Spedal as a logistics partner, so a quick zip fix can now be conducted guilt-free. Charlene Prempeh

Eva Joan, New York
The studio celebrates mending and repurposing items of clothes. “We believe within this process the clothing becomes more intimately your own,” co-founder Emma Villeneuve says. Along with a basic moth-hole repair ($15), it offers all kinds of patching, mending and altering: recent projects include a cable-knit sweater with a large appliqué embroidery added to the shoulder to creatively cover up damage, or custom name tags and decorative repairs to a vintage bomber jacket. “There are thousands of ways to make something better, it just requires great effort and intention,” Villeneuve says. 28 Jane Street, New York, NY 10014; JS

Musical instruments

Stairway to Kevin, London

Kevin Bourque’s workshop in London’s West End
Kevin Bourque’s workshop in London’s West End © Lesley Lau

Up a flight of stairs in London’s Denmark Street works Kevin Bourque. His main business is fixing guitars, but Stairway to Kevin also takes on all kinds of fretted instruments from clients around the world. One month he could be mending a west African kora; next month it could be a balalaika or banjo. Bourque’s neon-light-strewn workshop would once have been surrounded by scruffy studios where the Kinks, Bowie and Rolling Stones made their first recordings.

Kevin Bourque tunes a guitar
Kevin Bourque tunes a guitar © Lesley Lau
Tools in the workshop
Tools in the workshop © Lesley Lau

But Stairway to Kevin is anything but scruffy – packs of screws and miscellaneous guitar bits are neatly aligned on walls. Open by appointment; 5 Denmark Street (second floor), London WC2; CB-D


The Audio Centre, Croydon 
For anyone looking to fix a beloved Revox tape machine or Betamax video recorder – or any other kind of old hi-fi equipment – the Audio Centre has become a place of pilgrimage. The softly spoken Alfonso Camisotti opened his shop in the early 1970s, when buttons were chunky and valves glowed gently. He recognises the affection people still have for these old machines and continues to breathe new life into them after 50 years of dutiful service. Rhodri Marsden

Shoes, bags, luggage & leatherwear

Artbag, US

Artbag repairs in Coral Springs, Florida
Artbag repairs in Coral Springs, Florida

For more than 90 years, this Upper East Side institution was the go-to for society ladies – among them Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor – seeking to resuscitate their Hermès Birkins. Last year, rising rent finally forced them to decamp to Florida, where Manhattanites are now Fed Ex-ing their prized handbags. 927 N University Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33071; HM

L’Atelier de Jean, Paris
Monsieur Jean works at this notoriously chic address on Rue de Bellechasse. And whether you bring in a brogue, a stiletto or, in my case, a beloved pair of biker boots, they will be returned as if new. It might not be the cheapest, but Mr Jean is truly an artisan. 23 Rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris; +3314-551 4577 IK

KPA Shoe Repair and Services, London

A high heel being restored at KPA Shoe Repair and Services in Northwood
A high heel being restored at KPA Shoe Repair and Services in Northwood

A former colleague who worked at Vogue House first tipped me off about KPA Shoe Repair and Services in the London suburb of Northwood. Run by Ajit and his sister-in-law Pardi, who do all repairs in-house, this is where designer handbags and luggage come to get nifty nip ’n’ tucks on broken zips and wobbly wheels (among brands they specialise in are Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry and Burberry). When I checked in my vintage suitcase to have the top and side handles replaced, they politely refrained from mentioning my chronic issue with overpacking. To know that the bag would not break again mid-adventure was extremely reassuring (same goes for the heels of my precious party shoes) – such is the quality of the team’s workmanship. 10 Station Approach, Northwood HA6 2XN; Kate Chapple

Fratelli Chiesa Accessori per Calzature, Rome
Fratelli Chiesa stocks every colour of leather polish under the sun. It’s practically an art shop for leather lovers – the proprietor once suggested I mix my polishes if I can’t find the right shade. Usually I leave it to the expert leather carers, who mend belts, coats, bags and shoes with typical Roman élan. The shelves jingle with buckles and studs, and folded over wooden racks are crêpe-thin sheets of soft leather and suede. Viale Furio Camillo 29, 00181, and other locations in Rome; Camilla Bell-Davies

Jim’s Shoe Repair, New York
Run by the same family, in the same location, since 1932, Jim’s is a slice of New York history with a gorgeous vintage 1930s cash register. The team takes pride in making fraying, bruised footwear, bags and jackets look like new. Even if your dog has chewed on your shoe, they say, they can fix it. 60 E 59th Street, New York, NY 10022; HM

Kokos, London

A pair of loafers repaired by Kokos in East Finchley
A pair of loafers repaired by Kokos in East Finchley

This Finchley shoe repair shop was started by a Greek family in the 1970s. Clients have been bringing their well-loved and battered shoes here for years to give them a new lease of life, putting trust in Kokos’ traditional rigour as well as its flashes of innovation, from tooled leather toes to coloured rubber soles. The workshop was among the first to bring fine Italian shoes to London. Later, it became the authorised footwear repairer for Church’s. Workmen wear battered leather aprons and display their finished brogues and boots on mahogany shelves. 72-74 High Road, London N2; CB-D

L’Épée de cuir, Paris
Ever picked up your luggage from the baggage reclaim to find the wheels no longer roll? Or has your handbag strap come off because you have once again wrongly used the bag as a laptop, weekender and sports bag at the same time? L’Épée de Cuir in Paris’s 5th arrondissement is the answer. I’ve not had one bag they weren’t able to fix. You pay when you pick it up and, no matter what the bag, whether a vintage oldie or a precious new Saint Laurent, the price stays the same. 6 Rue de l’Épée de Bois, 75005 Paris; IK


Clive Lee, Cornwall
Clive has been mending lights for the past 21 years, enjoying a peerless view of Fowey Harbour from his riverside workshop. Originally from Bolton, he came to Cornwall 42 years ago and likes to think that there is no light he can’t mend, from French chandeliers to ship’s lights. It is well worth a visit to his workshop just to see the 15ft steam launch that is moored outside the window. (He’ll fix your steam engine too if you ask him nicely!); 07890-867 519 FG


Selfridges, UK 

A Chanel handbag is restored at Selfridges in London
A Chanel handbag is restored at Selfridges in London © PA

At the London store and online there’s the Selfridges Repairs Concierge, which is a one-stop shop for repairs for shoes, accessories, jewellery, eyewear and tech. Just drop by in person or virtually and let them know what you want mended and you’ll be pointed in the right direction. The Repairs Concierge works with Sneakers ER (which will bring battered trainers back to life and repair soles; also available at Selfridges Trafford and opening in Birmingham), Apple Repair, Timpson’s, Barbour Re-Wax and The Handbag Clinic. The Denim Studio will alter jeans but, as is the case with a number of the brand services (check before you visit), you will have had to have bought the item you’d like repaired at Selfridges. Tim Auld

Do you have a favourite repair shop?

Which shops and services for repairs and restorations do you recommend? Tell us in the Comments below and we’ll publish a selection in an upcoming article

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