How to best take care of your clothes to make them last longer
Fashion trend cycles have been a mainstay of the industry forever. What’s worrying is how dizzyingly fast – and short – they’ve gotten in the recent years. Fast fashion trends have normalised overconsumption, for which our earth is paying the ultimate price. It is estimated that nearly three out of five new items a person buys are discarded within the year, with 21 billion tons of garments ending up in landfills each year. While brands have a major responsibility to reduce overproduction and wastage overall, consumers too have a part to play. Instead of throwing out your clothes, extending its life by just 9 months can help to reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%, according to WRAP. Here are some of our tips to best take care of your clothes to make them last longer.
Invest in High-quality, Versatile Pieces
Cheap clothes can be costly in other ways. Buying high quality clothing that are durable and sustainable allows to avoid the cost of replacement, and also reduce the negative impact to the environment. Master your style and invest in a few versatile tops, bottoms and shows to build a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe helps to ensure that every piece of clothing you have is in rotation. You can still stay on trend, in style and be sustainable.
Follow the Care Label
We tend to be careless (wink) with the care labels on our clothing, often cutting them off without a second glance. They are however the key to making your clothes last longer. Before you buy your clothes, think about how you will need to take care of them. Simply tossing them in the washing machine and hoping for the best makes for an unsustainable way of life. If they are meant to be machine-washed, ensure that you’re using the right settings to preserve the texture and colour for longer. Handwash where possible to avoid friction, fading and shrinkage, allowing the item to look new as long as possible.
Use Gentle Detergents
Harsh detergents can strip away the dyes and trims on your clothing in just a few washes, rendering your clothes unwearable within just a few wears. Gentle detergents help to preserve the vibrancy and texture of your clothes for much longer, while keeping them clean and smelling fresh. Gentle detergents are also better on your skin and environment, as they contain much fewer harmful ingredients compared to regular harsher detergents.
Learn to Repair
Throwing out clothes for minor damages has become much more commonplace due to the low-cost and poor quality of fast fashion. Picking up basic sewing skills to replace lost buttons, fix small tears and even tighten seams can help to extend the life of your clothing.
Living a sustainable lifestyle does not need a complete overhaul of your current lifestyle and habits. Small yet consistent changes can go a long way, and with all of us doing our part, we can make a significant positive impact collectively.