What's in a label? Your guide to wardrobe success...

What's in a label? Your guide to wardrobe success...

How often do you check the label on that piece you love in the shop, or check out the fabric composition details in the description online?

Did you know that by making smart choices when adding to your wardrobe, you can not only ensure your new favourite piece will look newer for longer, but you can get many more wears out of the same piece and are more likely to be able to recycle it at the end of its life?

Since the year 2000, clothing production and sales have doubled, but the average number of wears per garment has decreased by over a thirdAs a result, over 90 million tonnes of clothing is discarded every year. This is partly the result of massive overproduction from fashion brands all over the globe, who would rather burn or bury unsold stock, and partly from our own decisions to throw away clothing we no longer want.

Why isn't more of this clothing being recycled?

Well, it's partly down to convenience - it's far easier to simply throw an unwanted garment in the bin than make an effort to get it recycled. Shockingly however, it's also because a huge percentage of clothing can't be recycled.

So why can't it?

It's back to those clothing labels again. If you see more than one type of fabric listed on the label, then it's classed as a 'mixed material'. The more different types of fabric listed on the label (these are usually given as percentages), the harder it is to recycle that piece of clothing. The most difficult to responsibly dispose of are blends of synthetic materials (these are fibres such as polyester, acrylic or polyamide, all of of which are made from oil - just like the petrol you put in your car). While we love our fleeces and workout gear, all of which are usually made from such fibres, it makes sense for us to be responsible about how much clothing made from synthetic materials we purchase, and consider buying higher quality items that can be worn for far longer.

The downsides of synthetic clothing don't stop there. While there's definitely a place for it in all our wardrobes, limiting our exposure to it can also help to limit our exposure to chemicals used in the production of fibres such as polyester that have been linked to cancer. There are environmental benefits too. Reducing our wearing of clothing made from these materials can reduce the impact of microplastics (microscopic fibres that shed from a synthetic garment each time it is worn or washed) on our rivers and seas - and ultimately reduce the amount we consume through eating fish, seafood or even, alarmingly, increasingly through the water we drink.

So what's the alternative?

Go natural! In line with a number of fantastic brands doing their bit by providing quality clothes in natural fabrics, King & Carr always pick the finest available materials like cotton or viscose (both made from plants). Clothing made from natural fibres is often more comfortable, lasts longer, washes better and can be easily recycled or, if a garment does end up in landfill, will naturally break down in the soil over time.

The power really is in your hands - check that label!

Sources: www.earth.org, www.timetosew.org

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