Shopping more sustainable starts with what you buy. When you go out for a new wardrobe we would like to give you a few pointers to help you make more quality based decisions. Let us first say that we would love for everyone to buy only organic cotton, ethically made items or vintage, but we also understand we don’t live in Utopia. So please read through our tips carefully and start shopping with more care.
How it is made?
It sounds obvious, but if you want your clothes to last, you need to invest in well-made garments in good-quality fabric. Don’t assume that expensive items are best – check for yourself. “The first thing to do when you’re looking at a piece of clothing is turn it inside out and pull at every piece of string you find,” says Orsola de Castro of Fashion Revolution. “When clothes are cheaply made, the seams are often shabby. If it starts to unravel – don’t buy it.”
What is it made from?
Next to the construction of a garment, the fabric is just as important. Sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel or recycled are not always recipe for long lasting garments. Let your hands do the job! When you feel fabrics you know. Cheap polyester or cheap cotton items feel like they will fall apart after washing, right? Buy the quality fabrics that will last.
We would also want to advice you to stay away from 100% polyester garments all together. They will make you sweat more, which means more washing, which means faster deteriorating of the garment. Plus the side effect of the plastic particles getting into the ocean, makes 100% polyester garments a big NO NO.
Polyester mix fabrics (preferably recycled polyester) are ok to buy, but only if the brand is a sustainable brand! A lot has been said about this fabric, but when it is used in a mix with organic cotton it will extend the life span of the garment immensely. Because the recycled polyester is locked in between the organic cotton thread, no particles will be lost in the washing machine and will end up in the ocean.
Our favourite sustainable fabrics are: Organic cotton, Recycled cotton, Hennep and Tencel (check for the Tencel logo, a lot of the lyocells and viscoses are also called Tencel, but lack the quality)
Will I wear it?
When buying quality, that also means quality for you. Ask yourself the following questions, before walking to the register: Is it something I will wear? Do I really need it? Does it complement my wardrobe? Do I see myself wearing it in 3 years? If you can say yes to every question, go ahead and treat yourself!
Wash eco smart
Washing your clothes can have a big impact on the environment. Did you know that 25% of the carbon footprint of clothes comes from the way we care for them? That’s why it’s important to revisit your laundry habits when working on lowering our environmental footprint.
Lower the temperature
Whenever possible, wash your clothes in cold water, it often works as efficiently. It also means important environmental benefits – it saves energy, money and prolongs the life of the clothing itself. Make sure you read the washing instructions and keep in mind the advised washing temperature on the label is the maximum you can go, so try going lower and see how it affects your cleaning results. Washing clothes at high temperatures should be an exception, not a rule.
Wash your clothes less often
Looking at how often we do laundry, it’s no question that it’s everyday habits like these that damage our environment the most. Waiting to have a full load before doing laundry is a good way to reduce the frequency of use, if you do have an item that can’t wait, how about washing it by hand?
You can also wear it more than once! Of course we don’t mean your undies or socks, but as long as it isn’t dirty, there is no law against it.
Remember that the laundry cycle is not only damaging to the environment, but also weakens the clothing fibers, shortening its lifespan more each time.
Tumble dryers? Nah…
Again, this method should be an exception and not the rule. By hanging your clothes to dry, outside or inside, you’ll not only save energy, but they get to keep their original shape and live much longer than they would being tumble dried every other week.
If you still do need to use it, make sure to keep the filter clean, as that will increase efficiency and shorten drying time. Use moisture sensor on your dryer (if available), it turns off the machine once it senses the clothes are dry, meaning less wear and tear on the clothing fibers and less energy being used.
Go for concentrated detergents, like Seepje
Not only are they just as efficient, due to their reduced packaging, they use less space, less packing materials and less fuel when being transported, which all adds for a smaller carbon footprint in the bigger picture.
Seepje liquid detergents contain 80% extract. Other natural ingredients are added to improve washing power, to enhance the efficiency of separate white and colour washes and to provide a delightful fragrance. The bottles are made of recycled plastic from Holland!
Be clever about how you care for fabrics
Although convenient, it may not be a great idea to throw all your laundry into the same load. In order to keep the quality of your garment for as long as possible and avoid accidents, keep in mind that different fabrics call for different care methods. Extending the life of our clothes by so much as 3 months mean a 5-10% reduction in the carbon, water and waste footprint. Now that’s some encouragement!
These videos from the Stella MCcartney’s Clevercare will get you started:
Denim care / Knitwear care / Tailoring care
You can find even more tips and information on this topic by checking out the Clevercare website, or downloading their educational brochure, which has tips and important information laid out in a more than clear way – you’ll never wash clothes the same! You can download the brochure here.
12 billion kg of clothes are tossed in the trash every year. 12 BILLION kg… This figure really knocked us of our feet and we want to give you some great ideas to re-use those old sweaters and (boyfriend) T-shirts. So don’t toss anything before cutting it into a new edgy style! Scissors in hand? Ready, set, go!
* Always cut too little, never too much.
* Use the leftovers as cleaning towels.
* Be creative in finding your own style.
* Ask your father or boyfriend if you can snoop around in their closet as well.
Next to cutting your old clothes, be kind to your local tailor! Before throwing something for a simple hole, be sure to check if it can be repaired.