Your clothes are likely to wash out rather than wear out.
Tossing everything into the washing machine, selecting random wash cycles, excessive use of abrasive detergents and fabric softeners and washing too frequently due to elevated cleanliness ideals are common ways clothes meet their inevitable deterioration faster than they should.
Care labels can only do so much — most people don’t understand them or simply ignore them.
Streamlining our creative process, using high-grade linen and insisting on slower construction methods is our way of promising the longevity of our work just as how others may design products that withstand passing trends or ensure high standards of colour fastness of their natural dyes. But the rise of cheap clothes, poor quality materials and construction gives the idea that clothes are only meant to last a few wears.
The truth is you can make your clothes look and feel good for years even if they weren't made to last. And we’re saying this because we have pieces from fast-fashion retailers back from the time we didn’t know better and have been wearing them for over 8 years. Pieces made from poor quality cotton put together with sloppy stitching that would have gone through thinning and snagging if we hadn’t used laundry bags and avoid dryers.
With convenience comes consequences
Convenience is no longer merely appreciated, it’s demanded. When it comes to caring for clothes, washing machines are increasingly designed to make laundry less of a chore but what about the condition of the clothes and the water that flushes down and into the environment?
Laundry can be a lot less dreadful when you know caring for your clothes means being able to wear them for years, not weeks and that extending the life of your clothes by just nine extra months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each. It’s win-win.
Replacing your clothes less frequently reduces the volume being discarded. Manufacturers and retailers can technically produce less clothes but this will take time. We do what we can to produce pieces that promise durability and only a few of them and we believe in letting things age and develop a characteristic through use. But the onus is on you to care for them, that means being mindful of the detergent you use and that different clothes should be cared for differently.
3 ways you can start caring better
Stop overloading your washing machine. Overloading prevents clothes from getting clean thoroughly because the clothes have to move around freely. The friction between clothes is meant to replace the rubbing action of washing by hand so when your clothes are clumped together, there isn’t any cleaning being done. Overloading also forces your machine to work harder and less efficiently, consuming more energy than it should.
Use laundry bags and fill only up to 3/4. Make a habit of seperating white and light-coloured clothes from dark-coloured clothes to prevent colour run. Laundry bags protect your clothes from rubbing against the machine drum - use pillow cases as an alternative. When you insert the bags into the machine, a good indicator of overloading is not being able to see at least the top 1/4 of the the machine drum.
Don’t use too much detergent. It’s common to use too much detergent for its fragrance, especially when your laundry is mostly made of synthetic fabric that trap bacteria and odour. Excess detergent can cause the layer of foam that holds dirt and bacteria to not be rinsed off thoroughly.
Wash according to activity level. Use detergent’s recommended dosage for sweaty clothes like sportswear or if your clothes smell, and half of recommended dosage for light-wearing clothes. Pre-treat visible dirt and stains by hand-washing them thoroughly with cold water and soda carbonate paste or a mixture of soda carbonate and vinegar. Hot water will set protein stains like blood, sweat, vomit, baby formula and dairy, making them almost impossible to remove.
Check the ingredient list. Any detergent that claims to be eco-friendly or gentle to the skin should be subjected to scrutiny and if there isn’t an ingredient list printed or available on their website, put it back on the rack. There are many ingredients to be avoided — sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) being some of the worst offenders.
Harmful ingredients not only deteriorate your clothes faster but also cause skin irritation. Household products like laundry detergent have been found to contain toxic chemicals that you unknowingly expose yourself to every day.
For more useful tips on extending the life of your clothes are available in our e-book.