How to Hand Wash Silk

When I started researching more ethical clothing brands, I noticed that many of them used fabrics that I always thought of as a fussy. Over the last few years, especially with athletic clothing, I’ve starting amassing more and more items that can’t go in the dryer, so I figured silk might be worth a try since I’m already dealing with so many “fussy” pieces, and especially since it’s a natural textile.

Hand washing was totally new to me though, since I’ve always been a lazy washer and would toss things in the washer anyway… but investing in a high-quality garment is pretty good motivation to take care of it as you should. And actually, hand washing is not that hard. Here’s how I do it:

First I got some Delicate Wash detergent from the Laundress, because it’s specifically designed to be good on silk. I use it for hand washing and in washing a load of delicates that are OK to go in the machine washer. Just a few drops is all you need.

For the actual washing, I place a plastic container in my bathtub and fill it halfway with cold water. Add a couple drops of the detergent, and drop in the silk shirt. Silk should not be soaked for more than a couple minutes, so I swish it around, then run the faucet over it to wash out the detergent and go on to the next shirt. I started washing my Osei Duro shirt first because it’s light, and kept the water for my Everlane shirt, which is a darker dye and does run a bit while being washed (but looks the same afterward). When rinsed, let it drip out excess water but do not wring out.

Lay out a clean towel and place the shirt flat on top. Roll the towel (like you’re rolling a sleeping bag) to get the excess water out. Repeat if necessary.

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Lay flat to air dry.

The whole process takes … about 15 minutes? I definitely put it off and these 2 shirts have been languishing in my delicates laundry bag for about 2 weeks because I am lazy, but it is really simple.

Budgeting and Shopping for Deals on Ethical Clothing

My senior year of college, I got a part-time job at Athleta, which then became my only job after I graduated and couldn’t find a full time job for the next 8 months.  At that point, I was making slightly more than minimum wage and just covering my basic expenses, it felt like saving money was so far away. If I had leftover money, I spent it, often at Athleta (I had a 50% discount). At the time I thought that I had this limited time to buy nice clothing at an extreme discount so I was lucky to use it. I would use these things forever! I was wrong. Five years later, I don’t have a lot of those things anymore and I feel dumb for having bought stuff that I didn’t wear a lot after my brief retail salesperson career and not saved that money for something actually useful or paid down debt faster.

I know that I am an emotional shopper. I buy things when I’ve had a bad day, or when I’ve had a really good day! It’s a way to treat myself. But, I recognize that the more I do this, the less it’s an actual treat. And I know that–at least at this point–moving into a strict budget with no room for buying things that I want instead of need would also make me miserable and probably wouldn’t work in the long run. So, where’s the balance? And, if you’re eschewing brands that make $6 t-shirts in sweatshops, can you still be a savvy budget shopper?

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:  Continue reading “Budgeting and Shopping for Deals on Ethical Clothing”

Ethical Fashion?

I just read a really interesting article about ethical “fast fashion.” 

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So the deal with fast vs. slow fashion is basically that fast fashion is produced at a high speed to keep up with(/create) consumer demand for new things. You know how H&M always seems different even if you visit it after a week or two? It’s because they are actually adding in new stock on a nearly-week basis. Fast-fashion is also generally characterized as being made as cheaply and quickly as possible, so that it stays on-trend and is inexpensive enough for the consumer to keep buying something new every couple of weeks.

Slow fashion, on the other hand, is characterized by an emphasis on quality materials, quality manufacturing (and often ethical manufacturing) and a larger emphasis on curating a smaller line of items that are all high quality.

I work in a non-profit, so Reformation is out of my budget, but it was interesting to read about Yael Aflalo’s approach to keeping up with the trends while also creating ethically and sustainably-made clothing. How should retailers balance consumer demand for trends with a responsibility to the ethical manufacturing?

I’m definitely intrigued by Aflalo’s and Reformation’s approach, although the fast/trend-based aspect makes me nervous (in general, I think the emphasis should be on consuming less), but since fashion is the second-most polluting industry in the world, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Read for yourself. What do you think?

Winter10x10 part II

Having just finished day 5 of the Winter10x10 challenge I’m thinking maybe I didn’t put enough thought into this. On the other hand, getting dressed in the morning is very fast.

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Continue reading “Winter10x10 part II”

Reselling for a Responsible Closet

It’s inevitable that even well-loved pieces, someday, will no longer fit. Especially when those things were bought in high school. Sometimes, you have to admit to your 27 year old self that… no, you can’t wear that anymore because you can’t breathe when you wear it.

I have sold things at my local Buffalo Exchange in the past, but I’ve never tried any of the reselling websites before. So now I have a few items posted on Tradesy! As I continue my closet cull I may post more, but I’m curious to see how it works and if it’s any better than lugging a big bag to Buffalo Exchange every couple months.