Everyone’s clothes get smelly and the (old!) normal reaction is to say chuck ‘em in the washing machine. But that’s why vast and unnecessary energy is routinely wasted throughout the global laundry debacle. Instead, we advise a wash-less (and live more!) approach. We’re fans of spot cleaning instead of the full monty wash. A simple refresh by airing, or using a steamer, also works to lengthen your washing cycles, as does a good old fashion clothing brush or clothing refresher. When you do machine wash, go cooler. Going from 40 (the European average) to 30 degrees (the recommended) for example can save up to 60% of your energy consumption. Hello cheaper bills and longer lasting clothes!
While our R Collective clothes are beautifully made, they are of course prone to wear and tear in the normal line of fashion service. Like cars need MOTs, so do clothes need some repair care occasionally. For minor repairs, we advise resorting to a good old needle and thread. If professional help is needed - of indeed if you just aren’t the sewing kind - then let us repair it for you (see Empowering Customers in our FAQ for more)
To dry clean or not, that is the question. The good news is there are alternatives to dry cleaning, which is a chemical-heavy process that’s hard on your garments and the environment. The misconception is that whilst ‘Dry Clean Only’ is often put on our delicate fabrics (wools, cashmeres, silks) and garments with multiple components (jackets, coats, or clothes with sequins or beads), often a quality washing machine with a gentle cycle used at low temperature with gentle detergents and a garment bag could to the cleaning work at home. So could a hand wash or spot clean. If you have to visit the dry cleaner, make sure to pick one that uses more environmentally friendly processes.
Apparently, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. That means there’s heaps of clothes sitting in your closet waiting to be reinvented with a bit of imaginative styling. ‘Shopping your closet’ is how we like to describe it. Restyling your clothes to create multiple outfit combinations is an active way of caring and contributing to a reduction in clothing waste. (Ahem, and it’s fun!). Let your inner stylist out, it could just save the planet!
When you no longer want a piece of clothing for your own use, remember that the aim of a more sustainable closet is to keep all clothes in the fashion loop and in active fashion service for as long as possible - and certainly out of landfill. So swap it, resell it, gift it to a friend or donate to your local charity. You can even return your unwanted R Collective items to us and we’ll send them on to our sister charity, Redress to recycle for you. See FAQ guide on Empowering Customers.)
Dress [with] sense
If you’d like to know more about upping your care culture, then the Dress [with] Sense consumer guide to a conscious closet maybe just want your wardrobe wants. Written by our sister charity, Redress and by R Collective’s Co-founder, Christina Dean, this book is crammed with practical tips and inspiring words from fashion professionals and style influencers on how we can all make fashion more sustainable.