CHRISTABEL'S SUSTAINABILITY UPDATE- JULY 2020
So in the last update we got into what our products are made of, it’s important to be intentional with the fabric you use, and create demand for. By creating this demand, this is only the beginning of your product's life, then comes the appropriate finish and dying process. A lot of these decisions play a huge role in creating a sustainable product with minimal waste creation and pollution. As we manufacture (a journey we are slowly beginning this year) these decisions will be a priority in order to create fashion with minimal impact on the environment. While we try to progress within our supply chain we also need your help to make a difference when wearing our clothes.
When you think of shopping ethically or being sustainable in your day to day life, you probably go straight to the thought of avoiding clothes made in sweatshops or piles of clothes lying in landfill, and yes avoiding buying fast fashion and throwing away unnecessarily are very important but there are other things you can do at home. The first being how often you wash your clothes, as it turns out when you look at the whole life cycle of a piece of clothing, everyday washing and drying damages our natural environment the most.
Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys (A book by Kate Fletcher) looked at the environmental impact of the fashion industry and reported that up to 82% of its energy use, 66% of its solid waste and over half of its emissions to air come from washing and drying clothes. Washing less frequently will also reduce the release of waste microplastics from our synthetic fibres. Recent studies have assessed that synthetic clothes contribute to about 35% of the global release of primary microplastics to the world oceans.
There is no quick fix to this problem, and washing less frequently can seem somewhat unhygienic but washing weekly or even every couple of weeks for sturdier garments, at the level where we are hygienic is sufficient, anymore washes doesn’t directly benefit us at all. An added benefit to washing and drying clothes less, is less wear on the material, print or design features, meaning a longer life for your garment. To aim for 30 wears for every garment we own (as recommended by Eco Age’s Livia Firth) and only 8-10 washes (every 3-4 wears) is a goal we can all work with, extending the life of our clothes, and also casting aside the need to keep with fast fashion myths of not repeating outfits, which if we continue to normalise will be better for early starts and quick decisions!!
Lastly, washing at low temperatures such as 30 degrees. With advances in washing machines and laundry soap, it’s now possible to get clothes just as clean at lower temperatures. Washing your clothes at 30 degrees allows you to take better care of the fabric. Your clothes will actually look much better for longer. Not only do clothes retain their colour when washed at a lower temperature, but there is also less wear of the textile. Then there is the collective benefit to the environment in energy savings, if everyone in Europe made an effort to reduce their wash temperature when possible it could really make a big difference. The energy savings of a reduction as small as 3 degrees in the average wash temperature of every person in Europe is equivalent to the emissions produced by more than 127,000 cars. So when you see on our labels the advice to wash at a low temperature, try it out! Your garments will thank you for it!
IN OTHER NEWS, we have now selected ethical and sustainable manufacturers for our Winter range! Keep a lookout on socials for the journey as it continues with samples arriving in the next few weeks!! These new items will replace some current items, improving our control and transparency in every part of our supply chain!