Make Clothes Last
It’s estimated that in the UK 300,000 tons of used clothing finds its way to landfill each year. Mix that with the fact the world now consumes 80 billion new pieces of clothing annually (400% more than two decades ago!) it makes sense that people are calling for the clothing industry to slow down and think about ways to make our clothing last longer. In fact, extending the life of our clothes by just 9 months would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.
How can we make our clothes last?
Look after your clothes
It seems obvious, but by caring for our clothes in the correct way we can greatly extend their life. We can avoid fabric looking ‘dull’ prematurely and accidents like shrinkages. Here are a few helpful hints:
Know your care labels
Around a third of the UK are no longer wearing clothing in their wardrobe because they don’t follow the washing, drying and ironing labels. Knowing your care symbols will help you care for fabrics in the best possible way. Love Your Clothes have a helpful online guide.
Don’t over wash
Soaking, spinning and rinsing clothing breaks down fibres and weakens fabric over time. Ask yourself if your clothes really need washing before putting them in the machine. Many odors disappear after airing for 24 hours and dirt can often be spot cleaned.
Use natural detergent
A lot of detergents use chemicals to make your clothes look brighter, whiter and smell clean. These chemicals, as well as being bad for the environment can be harmful to sensitive skin and break down fibres. Natural detergents, like Violets, steer clear of optical brighteners, additives, bleaches, petro-chemicals, parabens and put simply… are full of loveliness.
There are many benefits of air drying your clothes, including saving money on your energy bills! The high heat of tumble drying is damaging to fibres and causes shrinkage, like that time you shrank your favourite jumper – we’ve all been there! Air drying is more gentle process and keeps our clothing fresh.
Mend the clothes you own
It’s possible to get extra wear out of damaged clothes. If you love your clothes, here are some tips to making them last.
Knitwear, after time, can start to show signs of wear through ‘bobbling’ fabric called pilling. You can help reduce pilling by hand washing or washing on a gentle cycle. If your clothes have these ‘bobbles’ they can be easily removed with a pilling comb, making jumpers and knitwear look good as new!
Mending your clothes means you can keep your favourite pieces in your wardrobe for longer! There are many online guides showing ‘how to’ basic sewing and mending.
Here’s our easy how to guide to sewing on a button:
- This is what you need…. Thread, needle (make sure it can fit through the button’s holes), button and scissors.
- Thread the needle.
- Tie the ends of the thread together and trim the end after the knot.
- From the back of the fabric thread up and back down again. Then thread up once more, this time going through a hole in the button.
- Thread the needle back down through the other hole and through the fabric. Repeat this two more times.
- Thread the needle through the fabric under the button, but not through the button itself.
- Wrap the thread around two or three times between the button and the fabric.
- Push the needle back down to the back of the fabric.
- Push the needle under thread at the back.
- Knot off the thread and trim to finish.
Swap / Pass on / Buy second hand
As a whole in the UK, the average lifetime for a garment of clothing is estimated as 2.2 years. Second to using what you already have, making good use of clothing that is already in circulation is a great way to extend the life cycle of a garment and reduce its environmental impact.
The Babipur Buy / Sell / Trade group on Facebook is a place to sell on or swap your pre-loved clothes (and toys!) online. You can sell outgrown clothes, swap with others, or search for pre-loved clothes!
It’s inevitable we will need to buy new clothes now and then, but it’s important that when we do, we buy well, choosing clothes that will last over fast, throwaway alternatives. A couple of questions you can ask yourself when buying new:
- Do I LOVE this item?
- Will it go out of fashion quickly?
- Is it made with sustainable fabric?
- Has it been made in a fair way?
- Can it be recycled?
- Will I be able to care for it in the best way?
- Who am I supporting if I buy this product?
At Babipur we give as much information as possible about the great clothing brands we stock. All our brands use certified organic cotton and make their clothing in factories that operate fairly all over the world. We only stock brands we absolutely love, and we hope you do too!
“Buy less, choose well, make it last” – Vivienne Westwood