Over the decades of fast fashion and trends we have contributed to a huge amount of clothing dumped in landfills. According to the Guardian, Australians buy almost 15kg of clothes each year and most of that ends up in landfill. In fact, Australians buy approximately 56 new clothing pieces each year, making Australia one of the highest consumers of textiles per capita in the world.
It's time, we change this.
We understand well that the luxury fashion industry is not without flaws. Although, we challenge the status quo and design our own line of luxury clothes to make sure that they are made ethically and stand the test of time. As a responsible ethical luxury clothing brand, it is our responsibility to ensure that our clothing does not end up in landfills.
A research report by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program) in the UK has shown that increasing the active life of all clothing by nine months may significantly reduce annual carbon, water, and waste footprints of clothing by 20-30%.
So how can we do this?
Research shows that the average lifetime for a clothing garment is approximately 2 to 3 years. According to WRAP, the lifetime of a garment depends on a number of elements - the willingness of a consumer, fabric quality and resilience of that fabric and more importantly how the consumer cares for their clothes. Taking good care of your clothes significantly increases its lifespan and reduces dramatically our carbon footprint and water wastage.
Your Toolkit – tips on how to care for your clothes.
Taking care of your clothes at home is a good investment to the lifespan. This also has important benefits for the environment, such as helping to reduce our contribution to fashion’s carbon footprint and worldwide waste in landfills. But whether clothing is new or second-hand, an everyday item or a special heirloom, all clothing lasts much longer with some simple, basic maintenance. And, more importantly, it saves you money!
To help you invest in your clothes, we have compiled a straightforward guide on how to care for your clothes, using only a few easy techniques.
1. How to wash your clothes?
According to WRAP, the annual footprint of a household’s newly bought clothing, along with the washing and cleaning of its clothes, is estimated to be equivalent to the:
- carbon emissions - driving a car for 6,000 miles.
- water needed - over 1,000 bathtubs.
- weight of over 100 pairs of jeans.
It is also estimated that the average washing machine uses 13,500 gallons of water each year. This is the equivalent of a lifetime of drinking water. So, we suggest you wash with cold water and on shorter cycles to save energy. It is estimated that 90% of the energy the washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. If every household switched to cold water, we could eliminate about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Washing clothes on a hot cycle uses 75% more energy than cold water and warm water is also more likely to break down dyes and cause shrinkage.
It is recommended to use hot water only when removing bacteria and cold to gently clean delicate and bright colored garments. The temperature of the water plays an important role in the maintenance of your clothes.
It is also very important to read the care labels affixed with the clothing. More importantly follow the care instructions on the label to ensure the lifespan of your garment. Check whether you can hand wash them, machine wash them or DryClean.
It is suggested to use eco-laundry powders and detergents. Research shows that excessive detergent may damage the garment. For example, adding too much soap to your washing machine can prevent your clothes from getting clean, or worse not wash them at all.
It is also recommended to wash your clothes inside out, in particularly, jeans to keep color from fading.
An old tradition that may work for you, avoid using chlorine bleach, and substitute one half-cup of vinegar to the final rinse. Vinegar is known to naturally brighten clothes and will not wear out the fibres of your clothing.
Also, don’t let stains set. The longer a stain stays, the more likely it will stick. Prevent this with immediate treatment using natural laundry stain removers. Simply saturate set-in stains with vinegar, rub the spot with a paste made from equal parts vinegar and baking soda, and pop in the washer for a cool rinse.
Shirt collars also require attention. It’s here that stains can creep up from skin products, like skin lotions or makeup. Be sure to wash them immediately, especially before hanging shirts in the closet.
And finally, brush suits after every wear to eliminate dust and grime which can damage the fabric.
2. Air dry.
Try to avoid tumble drying, which also uses a lot of energy to run and also damage the fibres in the clothes. It is best to air dry clothes by hanging them on the washing line. And not only does it smell great, but air drying is also better for your clothes and the planet.
Again, pay attention to clothing labels as some garments, such as woolen jumpers, might be better dried flat.
3. Ironing Techniques.
Learn how to care for your clothes properly with the following basic ironing process:
- Check the wash care label on the garment to understand if the garment can be ironed.
- Then, check the product manual of your garment steamers or irons for correct usage instructions.
- For your regular clothes, check the wash care label on your garment to see the appropriate ironing temperature.
- Finally, set an ironing order to make the work efficient. You may go by the order of collar, cuffs and then the rest of the areas.
4. Store Properly.
Clothes need to breath too - especially those with natural fibres such as cotton, linen, silk and wool. Keep your clothes in dry condition - humid climates provide conditions for mold to grow, so keep the doors of your clothes open sometimes to allow air circulation. Also, after washing your garments, make sure they are completely dry before storing them away.
While hanging them retains their shape and keeps them wrinkle-free, make sure you’re using wooden or padded hangers. Heavy garments like sweaters may be folded instead so they don’t stretch out.
Also, the width of the hanger is important too. The hanger should not overpass the width of the shirt shoulders. And to give your clothes breathing space, store the hangers a little apart in the closet.
5. Support Your Local Tailor.
Repair any damage to a garment when you first notice it. As the saying goes a stitch in time saves 9. This will not only keep the item out of landfill and in a wearable state but will increase the lifespan of the item as the damage will likely get worse over time if left unresolved.
Give a facelift to clothes that you think may require it. A simple alteration like taking in at the waist or shortening a full-length dress into a midi dress may look fresh and become a new outfit. Also, your local tailor will be able to do things such as dropped hems, change the zips, or take things in and let them out. You could also learn a few sewing techniques from watching a few YouTube - “how to” videos and do some of the sewing yourself – especially dropped hems.
6. When travelling – pack them well.
A few tips to understand when packing your clothes.
- Button the shirt completely.
- Put a plastic or cardboard band — the kind that come inside new shirts from the store, or from the cleaners — inside the collar (to help support the collar and maintain its shape).
- With the shirt front-side down, place a sheet of paper or tissue paper on the back of the shirt before folding it (to avoid creases).
- When piling the shirts, alternate their direction.
By adopting a few good habits each day, could save your clothes and the planet too.
Sustainable Italian Elegance
At Tema Moda our ready to wear collection and products are made in Italy, with a strong focus on sustainability and the environment. Our passion for fashion and the environment drives us to create elegant, sustainable women’s clothing that is made to last and to provide the finest product made by local artisans.
If you love quality, then invest in your wardrobe with ethical and high-quality clothing. They last longer, look more attractive, and are more flattering and built to last.
Sustainable Italian Fashion - Made with AMORE - Always!