Clothes aren’t disposable, because we value the people who make them and the resources they use. This Fashion Revolution Week I’m joining millions of people to call for a revolution in the way we cherish and care for our clothes – and I’ll be reflecting on all of this in today’s blog. I’ll also be sharing my 7-step guide to caring for your clothes and making the most of what you already own.
It’s not just the fashion industry that has a problem with textile waste. We all do. Many of us are guilty of owning overflowing wardrobes, filled with clothes we hardly wear. According to a report by Barnardos, Britons spend a staggering £2.7bn on fashion that will only be worn once!
Clearly, as a nation, we’ve adopted a very unhealthy relationship with clothing. One where fashion is as disposable as a takeaway-wrapper…used once and thrown away. The advent of fast-fashion and its online retailers (like BooHoo) mean cheap clothing is everywhere! Available 24/7 and delivered straight to your door at the touch of a button.
As a former fast-fashion junkie who used to shop for cardio, I am also guilty of being sucked into ‘bargains’ in my previous fashion habits – as I’m sure we all have! Nowadays I shop with an awareness of price and what this means. If you buy clothing that seems too good to be true, it probably is. The price you pay for garments reflects not only the quality of the garment but the quality of life everyone involved in the supply-chain has.
So, if a dress is cheaper than a latte, who is paying the price? It’s not us, and it’s not the highstreet stores…
Fashion’s throw-away culture is having a devastating impact on the planet and the people who make our clothes. So how can we help? During the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s the perfect time to revisit our wardrobes and rethink our relationship with our clothes.
As Joan Crawford said, we must ‘care for our clothes like the good friends they are’. I LOVE this quote because it’s so true! Every item in your wardrobe required valuable resources to give it life (water, energy, labour, time, money) and we must appreciate this by doing what we can to increase the longevity of our much-loved items. To help you love your clothes, I’ve shared my 7-step guide below…
A 7-Step Guide: How to Care for Your Clothes
1. Wash less often & at the correct temperatures
Yes, it sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow care instructions. Wash at 30C when you can and always wear items several times before washing (excluding socks and underwear). If you are unsure of what different care labels mean, here’s a comprehensive guide.
2. Store properly
Clothes appreciate proper folding, hanging and storage. Invest in decent hangers – not the bendy plastic ones! And give your clothes space to breathe.
3. Close all zips
This one’s super easy! Whenever you’ve finished wearing your favourite jacket, put it back in your wardrobe and rezip it all the way to the top – to prevent snagging.
4. Mend where possible
Clothes worth wearing are worth repairing. A little hole shouldn’t signal the end of a garment’s life – take out a needle and thread and try your hand at sowing. Learn how to patch a hole and mend a seam here. And check out this interesting piece by Refinery 29 on how our lack of clothing-care knowledge is affecting the environment.
Now that we all have a bit more time on our hands, pick up a new skill and try darning those old socks you love!
6. Buy the best quality you can afford
If you appreciate the quality of a garment, you’re more likely to treat it with respect. The quality of a garment – and how long it will last – is often reflected in its price point and material.
7. Recycle Worn Clothes
We’ve all got clothes we’ve literally worn to death, so when it comes to passing it on, where does it go? Caring for our clothes means ensuring that when they reach the end of their life, they leave a minimal impact on the planet – and don’t contribute to the almost ⅓ of clothing in the UK that ends up in the bin (according to WRAP).
For more information, read my blog on Where to Recycle Old Clothes in London
How are you bringing the Fashion Revolution indoors? Let me know in the comments how you’re getting involved, or if you have any other tips you would like to share.