Meet the owners
Passionate about sustainable fashion, Nate Revell runs Cambridge repair shop Gokotta Handcraft, using his exceptional tailoring skills to breathe new life into pre-loved denims
What inspired the repair shop name?
Gokotta is actually a Swedish word which evokes the idea of waking early in the morning and embracing the freshness and calmness of the day. It resonated with me because when I first set up Gokotta in 2017 I was working a full-time job for Levi’s doing repair work, and as I wanted to expand on this, I’d get up early every morning to do my own repair work before I started my job.
When did you first discover a love for tailoring?
It was actually during my time at Levi’s. It’s a great company and educates its employees on the history of denim, how it is produced and the impact it has on the environment. They offer a very limited alteration service, so they taught me the basics of alterations. I remember sitting behind the sewing machine for the first time and loving it.
How did Gokotta start?
Initially in an art studio in Norwich, which was an amazing space amongst a real mix of creatives. Then in November 2017, I was offered a studio within Dogfish in Norwich. It felt important to have a physical location to try to modernise the vision of what a tailor shop can be, and try to get a younger audience to care. The store in Cambridge (also inside Dogfish) has been open for six or seven months now. I fell in love with Cambridge when I studied here and so when the opportunity arose to have a shop here it felt right.
What fabrics do you work most with?
My work is fairly heavily focused on denim as the big industrial machines I’ve sourced work best with denim as a textile. As I’ve mentioned, there’s a huge environmental cost to making a pair of jeans so it made sense to repair the type of clothing that had the biggest impact on the planet. It’s a garment that can continue to look beautiful and retain its unique character with repairs.
Can you tell us about the repair services you offer?
I offer visible and non-visible mends. The non-visible mends are done on a Japanese Singer darning machine which came from Pakistan. It’s a first edition, made in 1917, and still working beautifully. I use that to repair holes in denim specifically; rather than using patches, the darning machine creates the weft and the warp of the denim, meaning a strong repair. For the nonvisible mends, I use a Japanese technique called Sashiko which creates stunning results. It’s a very simple running stitch often using a contrasting thread, which Japanese farmers traditionally used to repair their clothes. I have a whole book of Japanese textiles to choose from for these repairs. They add real personality to the garment.
What are you other specialisms?
I offer a full alteration service, ensuring that a garment really fits a customer’s silhouette. I also offer a full customisation service to add life to clothes that might be a bit tired. So that could be using patchwork, hand stitching embroidery or adding pockets (which is something I particularly enjoy).
Do you recall a favourite commission?
I particularly enjoy working on projects which have an emotional attachment. I had one customer who’d lost his wife and he and his son brought along a favourite jacket. He’d saved one of his wife’s shopping lists as a reminder of how she’d cared for the family. It had her doodles on it, so I incorporated the doodles in the jacket design, and took sections of her shopping list and put it onto the back of the jacket in her handwriting. It was a highstake project for me as I wanted it to be special, and I felt very emotional working on it and when the customer collected it.
How do you see Gokotta Handcraft developing?
I hope to keep building my client base, meet lots of new people in Cambridge and connect with the local community. I’d love to eventually employ another tailor in Cambridge, to give someone else a livelihood, and enable us to repair more garments together. My focus is to continue nurturing beautiful clothes, adding longevity to them and doing my bit to counteract the fast fashion movement.
Gokotta Handcraft is located in Dogfish, 5-7 Sussex Street, Cambridge. Find out more at gokottahandcraft.com
Be the first to know about Love Cambridge
Love Christmas Guide 2022
Shopping at Christmas time does not get much better than when you come into Cambridge, the lights are twinkling, the carols are being sung – a truly wonder experience for all. Our gift guides this year will hopefully give you some inspiration on what to buy for all your loved ones. With present ideas for… View Article
Fun things to do this Autumn/Winter
See the changing colours in one of the many beautiful green spots across the city from the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Milton Country Park to Jesus Green or Stourbridge Common. Perfect for capturing those Autumnal shots! Enjoy a hearty warming meal at one of our many fantastic local pubs like The Cambridge Brew House, The… View Article
Family friendly activities for £10 or less in Cambridge this summer
The Cambridge Book Bench Trail Explore every nook and cranny of our wonderful city as you follow the trail to discover 12 completely unique book benches across Cambridge from the historic core to shopping centres and parks. This summer Cambridge BID in partnership with Wild in Art has installed 12 individually designed Book Benches across… View Article
Dog Friendly Cambridge
Park and Ride Accessing the city with your pooch has never been easier with the network of Park & Ride buses allowing you to travel with your dog for free (however, they will need to sit on the floor). Buses run from five sites across the city, and tickets cost as little as £3 return… View Article
Top five things to see and do in Cambridge this summer
This summer, the historic city of Cambridge invites holidaymakers to venture along its quaint streets to discover brand new boutique accommodations, exciting attractions and unrivalled al fresco dining throughout the charming city centreand its lush green spaces beyond.
Congratulations Will Mannion on winning the @CambridgeUtdFC Love Cambridge Player of the Month Award for November!… https://t.co/ZbzTBbl8RT
Check this fantastic gift guide in collaboration with @velvetmag for some perfect presents and tasty treats across… https://t.co/FtPs88TAHb
This December we come to you with a fabulous discount code for 10% off brunch at @fitzbillies Trumpington St on Wed… https://t.co/569aGTuGsJ
On Saturday it was Small Business Saturday! @SmallBizSatUK We have many amazing small businesses in Cambridge, ch… https://t.co/4FmLS09XMH