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March 30, 2017  
Fashion Foreword

I'll admit it. I'm a laundry addict. There's nothing I love more than a pile of warm, crisp clothes, just out of the dryer. If they bottled that fresh detergent scent, I would buy it. 

But this week, I learned this troubling fact: 25% of a garment's carbon footprint actually occurs after you have purchased it, in the process of washing, drying, or dry-cleaning. While the devastating environmental impact of the fashion supply chain is largely out of individual consumers' control, there's something we can do to curb the damage once the garment is in our possession: wash less. 

This isn't really such a crazy idea. Most of us are actually over-washing our clothes. "We tend to learn about how to care for our clothing from our parents, who in turn learned from their parents," says Matilda Hellman, who represents the Care Label Project, a European initiative that launched this week to encourage us to wash our clothes less. "This means that we're washing our clothes based on technology from the 1950s. But that makes no sense: Machines are so much more powerful and efficient today."

The Care Label Project is a collaboration between brands like Adidas and Woolmark, emerging designers, and even washing machine manufacturers like AEG. Together, they're trying to change our behavior. With a new label that simply reads, "Don't Overwash," they're prompting consumers not to wash our clothes every time we wear them--and when we do, that we don't need to use such high temperatures. Not only does this save energy, it also prevents garments from wearing out so quickly, which is important because 90% of clothing is thrown out long before it needs to be.

"We wash largely out of habit, rather than necessity," Hellman says. "But habits can change, and that's what we're trying to do with this project."

Are you also obsessed with washing your clothes? Contact me at esegran@fastcompany or @LizSegran if you want to form a support group. 

Liz Segran 
Staff Writer, Fast Company
"Like many others, we were troubled by Donald Trump's travel ban. So we partnered with the ACLU on a collection of bags with sayings on them, like 'Stay Woke' and 'We the People,' with a proportion of sales supporting the ACLU's work. We're not a partisan company, but we wanted to give our customers, who travel a lot and are constantly at airports, an opportunity to express themselves."
Andy Krantz, co-founder, Paravel
A bag from Paravel's ACLU collaboration. (via Instagram.)
  • Beauty Rabbit Hole: Tucked in a small corner of Sephora's website is the "Beauty Talk" blog where women share beauty secrets with one another. It is an unexpected place for social commentary and meaningful discussion. (Racked)
  • Labels Driving Bollywood Style: India's $4.5 billion film industry has a role in shaping Indian fashion. These are the designers influencing the directors. (Fashionista)
  • Coach Vies for Kate Spade: There have been rumors that Coach has plans to become an American LVMH. It purchased Stuart Weitzman in 2015. If it acquires Kate Spade, it will be on its way to becoming a holding company for premium U.S. brands. (Business of Fashion)
  • Instagram vs. Brick-and-Mortar: This fascinating story traces how the teen designer Millinsky used Instagram to totally bypass retail. (When Urban Outfitters wanted to include his hats in stores, he declined. Twice.) Is this the future of fashion? (Bloomberg)

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Kevin Hart Gets Ballsy For New Tommy John Campaign

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What Happened When I Wore The Same Pair Of Cellulite-Reducing Jeans For A Month

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Hijab In High Places: Muslim Women Leaders Explain The Challenges Of Visibility

Muslim women who choose to wear hijab are rarely heard in the American workplace. These professionals aim to change that.

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