Fashion / Style

A guide on how to make your clothes last longer

Saint Laurent Majestic issue

Australians are the second highest consumers of textiles in the world. We are second only to the USA.

The average Australian buys 56 items of new clothing every year. This represents 383,000 tonnes of new clothing purchased in a year. We consume clothes at twice the rate of the average nation.

The saddest part is that 90% of the clothes Australians buy are disposed of within 12 month. Each Australian throws away 23 kilos of clothes each year. 6000 kilos of clothing is dumped into landfill in this country every 10 minutes.

It's undeniable that we have a fashion problem. A fast fashion problem.

The low prices of fast fashion retailers might initially seem enticing. But know this.

Fast fashion producers rely on their items being poor quality. It means that you have to throw them away sooner - and ultimately buy more in the long run.

According to the (LG) Laundry Care Report 2024 the leading causes of clothing being thrown away or replaced include damage (48%) and poor condition (42%).

It's also extremely important to mention there is also a horrifying human cost to fast fashion. It is impossible to sell a t-shirt for $5 without a worker somewhere being exploited within that supply chain. This is a core reason why France has passed a bill to limit fast fashion production.

Engaging in fast fashion creates a vicious cycle that can be difficult to remove yourself from. But the first step is to make the things that you do have last for longer, eliminating the need to replace them as frequently. If you're looking to change your shopping habits, these are the tips and tricks our team uses to make our own clothes last longer.


1. Wash on cold

According to Marketing Manager for Home Appliances at LG Australia, Shannon Tweedie, cold water: "helps preserve fabric integrity and prevents fading."

"Modern detergents work effectively in cold water, so you won’t sacrifice cleanliness for conservation."

Washing in cold water also prevents your clothes from shrinking. Plus. it will help you save on your power bills.


2. Don't use more than the recommended amount of detergent

Too much detergent does more harm than good. Tweedie says, "using too much won’t make your clothes cleaner and can leave residue." This residue is harmful to your fabrics and can shorten their lifespan.


3. Get moisture absorbers for your closet to combat mould

If you live somewhere humid, you need to get moisture absorbers for your wardrobe. This can drastically reduce the chance that one of your favourite items of clothing will end up covered in mould. You can get hanging moisture absorbers from any hardware store.

For leather items, you can also wipe them down with vinegar and regularly coat them in leather conditioners to stop mould from growing to


4. Avoid fabric softener

Our deepest sympathies to our fabric softener fanatics, but it's actively shortening the lifespan of your clothes and towels. If you crave that soft feeling. Add a dash of white vinegar to your wash instead.


5. Lay knits flat to dry

Drying your knits on a flat surface will prevent them from stretching and ultimately ending up out of shape.


6. Repair any damage before it gets worse

Small rips and tears get much worse if you don't fix them early. If you notice a small pull, move the pull to the inside of the garment. If you have busted stitch, sew it back up immediately before the break becomes bigger. Patch holes, mend breaks, trim loose threads. And if you don't have the sewing skills, ask your friends for a good tailor near you.


7. When buying new clothes, pick quality fabrics

Some fabrics are more durable than others. Cotton, linen and wool in general will remain in good condition for much longer than polyester and other plastic fabrics. This is because natural fibres are more resilient when it comes to daily wear and wash.

When you're shopping, look at the composition of the garment you're about to buy. You can keep a good woollen jumper for decades (I certainly have!) but you might only get a year or two out of a polyester one.


8. Buy less, buy better

Instead of buying five tank tops from a fast fashion brand, it is always a better investment to buy one high-quality item from an ethical brand.

Not only will one quality piece last you for longer, but you'll feel prouder to wear it. Think about how you get dressed now. Do you not find yourself more often reaching for those pieces that you spent a little more money on? The one that fits you better? That you're proud to name drop when people ask you were the piece is from?

Consider all of this next time a very tempting fast fashion ads appears on your TikTok feed.


9. Avoid the dryer - line drying is better

The heat and tumbling is going to shorten the lifespan of everything from your tea towels to your t-shirts. Avoid using it at all if you can.

Plus, the sun acts as a natural anti-bacterial agent, helping to kill bugs and odours. Line drying is your best friend.


10. Spot clean where you can

Is it worth putting a whole dress in the wash because of one tiny splash of soy sauce? Try spot cleaning instead. You can get a stain remover pen to help pinpoint small stains.


11. When you're next in the market for a washing machine, pick an intelligent one that will be kinder to your clothes

Being able to customise your wash can actually help you extend the life of your clothes. In particular, if you look for machines that allow you to customise spin cycles, or turn them off altogether, this will be very beneficial for your delicates. It's also handy to find a machine with multiple temperature settings instead of just the binary hot or cold. This can allow you to be more precise when choosing how to treat your garments. You can also get washing machines that can correctly measure washing detergent for you. Some LG washing machines have a feature called ezDispense® which releases the optimal amount of detergent based on load size.


12. Alter or tailor trend pieces to keep them relevant

If you have a piece that is out of fashion and you don't feel your best wearing it anymore, see if there is a way to alter or tailor it to make it more relevant. Hemming a dress or taking in a shirt is better than buying something entirely new.


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