Making more of my own clothes, and mending those I have, changes my attitude to these things in ways I can’t really explain. I’ve loved fast-fashion in the past – being able to walk into a store and buy something I might only wear a handful of times. Everything just got chucked in the washing machine regardless – then eventually out to a charity shop.
Andy bought a pair of Hiut jeans recently (I didn’t because I have enough jeans) and they have a novel concept of the #nowashclub. Basically you leave your jeans for as long as possible before washing, and then only use cold water. The old me would have been horrified at this! But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes when it comes to keeping clothes looking new because machine washing fades and trashes stuff so quickly. Less washing is also better for the environment – less energy, less cleaning products down the drain and washed into our oceans, clothes last longer so less buying new ones.
I wanted to dispel the idea some people have that we live a completely frugal life buying nothing new. We like new things! And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to buy new clothes or wool or materials. But I think that paying more for locally made/spun/stitched is the best way to support smaller businesses and pull the focus away from unethical practices.
Again – I’m not a beacon of perfection when it comes to this, I’m a work-in-progress, learning from my mistakes. I love this jumper I knitted recently and honestly it will last me decades, but I only thought to look into the provenance of mohair after I’d bought it. Once I’d done that I realised that there’s huge discrepancies in the way the goats are treated and it made me buy from a more ethical brand (Rowan) when I bought mohair for Andy’s jumper. Live and learn.
I’m hardly going to wash this jumper though. But I wear a thermal vest underneath that does get well-washed. I also make up a natural fabric spray by mashing mint and lemon essential oils into a tsp of bicarbonate of soda and dissolving that into a spray gun of water. It’s great for refreshing clothes (along with hanging to air) before folding them away.