The case for doing less laundry

If your dirty clothes pile is perpetually enormous, we’ve got news to make your day: apparently we’re all far too studious when it comes to keeping our threads squeaky clean – and all that over-washing is wreaking havoc on the environment. The upshot? We now have an excellent excuse to skip doing the laundry.

A new Fashion Revolution-led campaign reveals a whopping 25% of each garment’s carbon footprint comes from the way we care for it. Worse yet, 9 out of 10 pieces of clothing end up landfill long before they should – often because over-washing has caused irreparable colour fading, shrinkage and misshaping. Turns out we’re still using outdated care instructions from the 1950s, which have largely been superseded by fancy new washing machines. It means hand washing can actually be a sustainability no-no these days and, equally counter-intuitively, sometimes tumble drying clothes is better for a garment’s longevity than line-drying.

If you buy good quality denim jeans, you could wear them for maybe 10, 20 years. If you know how to look after, wash and care for them, they could live with you forever.

That’s why The Care Label Project, a collaboration between washing machine manufacturers and young fashion designers, has created an entirely new care symbol – Don’t Overwash – to inspire us to wash our clothes less, avoid the harsh and damaging dry cleaning process and use lower washing temperatures.

The project also brought together 16 European designers, who created a spiffy new collection and this lookbook to help us all make sense of just how we should be washing our clothes. Says London’s Han Ates, a Care Label Project collaborating designer, “If you buy good quality denim jeans, you could wear them for maybe 10, 20 years. If you know how to look after, wash and care for them, they could live with you forever.”

Everlasting jeans? Consider us convinced.

 

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WORDS: KOREN HELBIG

 

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