HOW TO START A FASHION REVOLUTION FROM YOUR LAUNDRY ROOM
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BLANC
To ensure that aftercare is not an afterthought here is all you need to know, to start a fashion revolution from your laundry room...
Safe to say, 2020 flipped the world upside down and the fashion industry was no exception. The shift from physical to digital retail has been monumental and the call for a circular economy is louder than ever. We have reached the point where we need to reimagine everything about the fashion industry. The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year - this is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago (source: The True Cost).
As Orsola de Castro writes in her last book Loved Clothes Last, “our wardrobes don't have to be the finish line; they can be a starting point. We can all care, repair and rewear”. This is why we have teamed up with BLANC - the UK’s number one aftercare specialist, offering eco-cleaning and alterations & repair services - to ensure that aftercare is not an afterthought! Without further ado, here is all you need to know, to start a fashion revolution from your laundry room...
WHY WE NEED A FASHION REVOLUTION
It’s no secret that fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries. The Ellen McArthur Foundation uncovered that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Some recent reports such as Fashion on Climate by McKinsey and The Sustainability Gap by Business of Fashion highlight that we need urgent action to change our ways in order to avoid catastrophic climate change and reach broader social imperatives.
Fast fashion, which runs on quick turn around time and poor quality fabrics, has had a disastrous impact on the working conditions in the fashion industry supply chains and the volumes of clothing we produce and consume are harmful to people and the planet.
It’s simply not possible to carry on business as usual and we need a real shift in the way we think about fashion. Over the past few years, consumers have become more invested in how goods are made and where they are coming from and 73% of global consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
SO WHAT DOES EFFECTIVE AFTER CARE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the list of challenges the fashion industry needs to tackle, it is important not to underestimate your power, as an individual, to make a change. “Buy less, choose well, make it last”. These wise words were spoken by Vivienne Westwood and we couldn’t agree more: you can vote with your wallet by making more conscious purchasing decisions but also by ensuring that what you buy stands the test of time, and this is where aftercare enters the picture.
Not many people know, but aftercare is so much more than chucking your clothes in the washing machine. Over the past few years, the focus when looking at the fashion industry was very much on sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, and retail distribution, but we have recently seen a shift with fashion brands being increasingly concerned about their aftercare impact. The consumer use phase (where clothes are worn, washed, dried, ironed, etc.) represents a third of the overall fashion environmental footprint and 20% of its carbon emissions. So, it’s already feeling like quite a big deal, right?
Aftercare plays a huge role in dictating the lifecycle of your clothes: 70% of clothes we throw away have irreversible damage, such as colour fading, stubborn stains or shrinking. So proper aftercare, coupled with mending and repairing clothes instead of buying new ones when they only need a simple fix, can empower you, as an individual, to reduce your fashion impact drastically. Because any fashion can become fast fashion if it’s not cared for properly.
Here at BLANC, we believe that the world needs a sustainable way of cleaning the many clothes it produces each year. We are re-imagining clothing aftercare and the way we value our clothes. Our mission is to clean and care for clothes, naturally, to make them last longer and we are committed to showing that it’s possible to clean the most delicate garments with eco-technologies that don’t cost the earth: we use wet cleaning and liquid CO2 cleaning, which are the most sustainable and health-friendly methods of cleaning currently available - gentle on textile fibres, yet efficient on stains.
WONDERING WHAT YOU CAN DO FROM HOME? HERE ARE 6 SIMPLE TIPS:
1. WASH COLD + AIR DRY
Keeping the temperature down not only stops your clothes from shrinking and wearing out quickly, but also saves money on the energy bill. The same goes for the dryer, too: opting for air or line dry is better for your clothes, planet and wallet!
2. WEAR MORE, WASH LESS
Unless you’re working out, you shouldn’t need to wash your clothes after every wear. To maximise the number of wears between washing, it's a good idea to air your clothes out, brush the dirt off or steam the garment after use. This will save you energy, time and money - not to mention, extend the life of your precious clothes!
3. SAY 'STOP' TO MICRO WASTE
When we clean our garments made of synthetic fabric, microplastics shed off our clothes and get washed into the oceans and rivers, damaging both the environment and wildlife. Use a GuppyFriend Bag when washing your clothes to avoid these.
4. USE ECO FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS
Traditional laundry products can be damaging to the environment but also to our skin health, due to irritating chemicals. If you’re struggling with eczema or unexplained skin irritants, this could very well be your detergent and you can try solving the problem by switching to environmentally-friendly detergents.
5. MAKE THE SWITCH TO ECO CLEANING
The dry cleaning industry traditionally uses a toxic solvent called PERC (Perchloroethylene) which is highly detrimental to the planet and our personal health. The alternatives are wet cleaning and liquid CO2 cleaning: these eco-cleaning methods have a far more effective outcome and are much less harmful to the environment. So, if some of your garments need some special attention, and a professional clean, this is the way to go!
6. REPAIR, MEND, ALTER
A method that is easily forgotten about, but something that our grandparents’ generations got very right! A rip, tear or loose button does not mean that clothes have to head for the bin. Stitching up a hole or mending a button is very simple and effective, the positive environmental knock-on effect is huge (it can take up to 20,000 litres to make a pair of jeans from scratch). If you need something a bit more complex, specific or just feel a little clueless as to where to begin (we get it!), we offer in-store and virtual tailoring appointments at BLANC.
There you have it - how you can start a fashion revolution from home! If you have seen enough of your washing machine and want to outsource your dry cleaning and alterations (and who can blame you...), you can drop your clothes at a BLANC store or book a collection and delivery online.
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