Making loved clothes last with Clothes Doctor
Fashion is not just about setting trends, it’s about telling stories. Every piece of clothing has a history. That’s why, at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, we believe in treating clothes with love, care and attention, so that their stories and value can be passed down through generations. In our pursuit to guarantee longevity, an initiative with care and repair organisation Clothes Doctor made care and repair opportunities available for our London-based employees, in a first step to trial repair options that may be relevant for our customers.
Today, consumers are buying more but often wearing their clothes less. Across the industry, clothing production is increasing exponentially, at the expense of the quality and endurance of garments. In the UK alone, 350,000 tonnes of pre-used but still wearable clothes go to landfill every year. This increasingly rapid consumption is taking its toll on the environment. Fashion has become throwaway and we want to play a role in fixing this.
Extending the life of garments is a key aspect of our Infinity strategy. We want to create a fashion culture where quality is king, and where people know how to maintain and renew what they already have in their wardrobes.
We talk to Clothes Doctor about their top recommendations on caring for our clothes.
Q. Tell us about what Clothes Doctor stands for?
A. We believe that every new garment should be a friend for life, not a one hit wonder.
Clothes Doctor is constantly striving for more conscious consumption habits to prevent clothing from ending up in landfill and reduce the emissions that occur during a piece of clothing’s life cycle. With our wonderful team of skilled seamstresses, and our range of natural, plastic-free and gorgeously fragranced clothing care products, we aim to give consumers the tools they need to embrace a more sustainable wardrobe.
Q. What’s the first step people should take to keep clothes in good shape for longer?
A. The first step is repairing and altering our clothes regularly, fixing small problems before they become big.
Although we all know and love the feeling of wearing a new item, by caring for the rest of our wardrobe through repairing and altering regularly, we can all contribute to a more sustainable future in fashion. A tear or rip in garments is a sign of used and loved clothes, and the key is to fix these small problems before they become big. It is also important to reject the only-wear-it-once mindset. In fact, extending the life of clothes by just nine extra months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each.
Reviewing our wardrobes regularly to see if there are pieces in need of attention and giving some love in the way of repairs, alterations, and restyling can go a really long way to extending the lifespan of favourite pieces.
Q. What’s your advice on cleaning and washing garments?
A. Avoid over-washing, switch to eco-friendly washing techniques and keep the temperature low.
Washing and caring for clothes really matters and can help extend the life of our clothes while also minimising the environmental impact. In fact, up to 25% of each garment’s carbon footprint comes from the way we wash and care for our garments.
Q. And what if people have to throw away their clothes?
A. If you must discard your clothes, it is important that those garments do not end up in landfill. Consider re-purposing items, re-selling, hosting a clothes swap, donate to friends or charity, or dispose of them responsibly at a textile recycling centre.
Top Tips from Clothes Doctor:
Avoid over washing
You should only wash clothes when you really need to. It’s best to hang most garments if you can, apart from knitwear which should be dried flat and then folded to avoid stretching.
eco-friendly washing techniques
Simple changes like hand washing instead of dry cleaning and using eco-friendly, locally sourced products will help. Try plant-based, eco-friendly detergents to care for your clothes while minimising planetary impact.
Sort and wash on a low temperature
Washing clothes inside out, at low temperatures and on a gentle cycle can keep your everyday items looking and feeling their best. Sort laundry into whites, colours, and hand wash (wool, cashmere, silk and delicates) to preserve the colour and texture of your clothes.
YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP commits to support our customers to make their loved clothes last by offering care and repair solutions across our four online stores by 2023. This commitment falls under the Circular Business pillar of our Infinity strategy.