In Paris, a “clinic” to repair frayed stitches


Julie Henocq, in her studio in the 15ᵉ arrondissement.

The funny surgeon lives at the top of the stairs. On top. In Paris, at 4e and top floor of a small old building from the 15e district, half a dozen inanimate and hairy patients are waiting to be examined by the chief doc, Julie Henocq. Mottled cashmere, pilled shetland, unraveled merino, torn mohair, all those broken knits have come to the “sweater clinic” to recover their health.

“Here, we save, we revive, we graft, we retype woolens behind which there are always stories of life and transmissionexplains the doctor, dressed in a large plaid skirt, thick woolen socks in her derbies. Because sweaters are cuddly toys, with a smell, a touch. It’s the thing that we can’t throw away, even if it’s all damaged, because it reminds us of our mom, our boyfriend, a place, a period of our life. »

It was in full confinement and after a conventional break with her last employer that Julie Henocq decided to launch her activity as a doctor of wool two years ago. One of her friends, knowing she is skilled with her hands, entrusts her with her old stock of cashmere sweaters that cannot be worn, because they have been ravaged by moths, but which she cannot part with. Julie makes it her needle ground to try her hand at repair and transformation. A few months later, she opened her “clinic” in her apartment, an activity from which she now derives an income.

Around 50 euros on average

Always, salt and pepper high bun held in place by a pencil, seventies glasses on the nose, the “second-hand consumer”Who “love to mix materials and colors” has a taste for fashion. Great-granddaughter of haberdashers, granddaughter of merchants in the clothing industry, the fifties, after studying fashion design, worked for twenty-five years in knitwear, from creation to product development for major brands.

On the left: a “re-hab-lit” second-hand sweater.  It has been overdyed and fringed to live a new life.  Right: transformation of a men's sweater.

No skin can resist his dexterity and creativity. Depending on the extent of the damage, the traces of time and use will be erased and made invisible or enhanced by embroidery, a different colored thread, a patch. For the most extreme cases, sleeves, collars or cuffs are cut, transformed, remeshed according to his imagination and the wishes of customers, whose common motivation is to “cling to their sweater to the point of wanting to save it”.

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With an average ticket around 50 euros, the prices remain reasonable, but they can go up to 120 or 130 euros for major facelifts. “At this price, the emotional often takes precedence over ecological or economic considerations.recognizes the savior of jersey points. People come to see me so as not to cut the thread of a story with a piece of clothing. » Such as this father’s sailor sweater worn to the point of wear by his son, this multicolored vest, the armor of a teenager who has become an adult, this sweater with the Bambi motif, a little off but knitted with love by a grandmother for her granddaughter. , and little put, “because he scratched” and which had felted during a passage in machine.

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