When it comes to dressing mindfully, the most sustainable pieces are actually those already hanging in your closet. Caring for your clothes with a ‘make do and mend’ mentality has benefits for both your bank balance and the environment so the next time you get feel urge to buy something new, consider investing instead in these avenues.
1. Find a trusted mender
There’s a new crop of creatives putting the intimacy back into the art of tailoring, so we can wave goodbye to mall drop-offs and say hello to having our clothes fitted in person. Jessica Jay of Reparation Studio does alterations and repairs (as well as bespoke garments) from the comfort of her home studio in Auckland’s Mount Eden. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe, she brings six years’ industry experience from roles at Kate Sylvester, Juliette Hogan and Taylor to her consultation-based creative-tailoring practice. The ethos behind her work lies in a desire for less and to keep clothing in wardrobes for longer.
2. Reboot and restore it
Before throwing a ‘ruined’ garment in the too-hard basket or the bin, it’s worth considering the restoration options that are out there. Regal Drycleaners offers a range of innovative services that may just surprise you. Their team of experts can tackle tricky stains, bring whites back to beautiful, deodorise and even reverse shrinkage in some fibres. Colour enrichment can help restore darker garments that have faded over time, while a dye-run treatment might just be the saviour for an item that’s ended up in the wrong load of washing. Likewise, if a silk piece has accidentally taken a trip through the machine, take note of Regal’s texturiser service, a softening treatment that’s designed to help bring back lustre and slinkiness.
3. Be gentle with cleaning
Switching up your laundry routine from mundane to meditative will add extra mileage to the lifespan of your clothes. A good place to start is by taking heat out of the equation, as hot washes and tumble drying can cause damage, fading and shrinkage. Instead, opt for a cold wash and dry on the washing line or a clothes horse. Overwashing is a major culprit for putting pieces under unnecessary stress as well, so think twice before you toss things into the laundry basket. Consider spot cleaning with a damp cloth and laundry bar as an alternative, or try putting your pieces out in the sun for a short amount of time to make the most ofits antibacterial ray s. If you’re not already using the gentlest possible laundry detergent, you’re behind the times, so check out Ecostore’s great range available in supermarkets, and if you’re in need of something specialised, The Laundress range at Smith & Caughey’s offers all sorts, including solutions for static and sweater stones that remove dreaded pilling on knitwear.
4. Adjust your accessories
Have you just discovered a once-adored pair of shoes in the back of your wardrobe covered in mould? Or perhaps a handbag previously on high rotation has been long forgotten thanks to a broken strap? Auckland leather specialists Gemmell’s are keeping the craft of shoe and bag repair alive through a family business that spans four generations, and they’re the exclusive repair agents for favourite brands such as Birkenstock and R.M. Williams. With accessories, it’s also a good idea to consider preventative measures, like using leather conditioners and getting a layer of rubber added to shoes with leather soles to improve their longevity.