An Interview with the Founder of Clothes Doctor
I’m lucky enough to partner with Clothes Doctor to share this blog post today. Clothes Doctor are an online and local tailor and clothing restoration company. They sell eco-friendly detergent and clothing materials as well as being a go-to clothing restoration service.
If you’ve got a favourite coat with a rip in, they’ll fix it! Have a stain that won’t get out, they’ll sort it.
I was lucky enough to receive some clothing care products from them for review, including their signature eco-wash and their eco-wash for silk. I’ve used the former and I am a total convert! Not only are my clothes cleaner (and in an eco-friendly way!) they also smell great! Fresh, not synthetically scented. Just my kind of washing.
I’ll do a full review next year – Blogmas is coming! – when I’ve had a chance to use it properly. And I can use the Eco-Wash for Silks on my party dressers and Christmas jumpers.
For now though, I have a post from the lovely founder of Clothes Doctor Lulu O’Connor.
1. How did Clothes Doctor come about?
I started Clothes Doctor after my favourite coat ripped on the way to a really important meeting back when I was working in Finance in the City. The experience of trying to find a mending service in my local area that was convenient and high-quality was frustrating. When I began looking into the industry as a whole, I realised that it was outdated, and there wasn’t a service available that I could trust, especially for more specialist work that the dry cleaners just wouldn’t do.
I began to think that there had to be an alternative and wanted to build a platform that allowed people to look after their clothes, in a way that was convenient and easy to use, with high-quality work guaranteed. I also started to become more and more interested in the effect fast fashion was having on the planet, and realised the importance of caring for our clothes properly and finding solutions to help prevent garments from ending up in landfill. So I hoped Clothes Doctor would help consumers contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
2. How do the services of Clothes Doctor work?
We offer a range of clothing repair, alteration, and restoration treatments to customers across the UK via our digital platform and walk-in locations.
You can order a service via our website, which is set up for quick, easy, and hassle-free ordering. You can also receive instant advice from an expert using our live chat or Facetime consultation feature. Once you have ordered, you can opt to send it to our workshop via courier, or have it collected from your home if you live in central London. If you prefer a face-to-face service, or need help with pinning, you can drop into our London Farringdon office or Cornwall workshop.
Once we have received the order, our team of expert craftswomen will complete the work, keeping you updated at every step of the process. Your order will then be sent back to your preferred location, whether that be home, work, our walk-in locations, or a local pick-up point.
Our proprietary repair and alteration techniques cover everything from cashmere, wool, silk, suit fabric, through to more specialist leather or bespoke work. We can help bring your ideas to life and find solutions for every garment and fabric type.
We are constantly innovating to make our practices more sustainable. For example, with the reusable canvas bags we use to transport your clothes and the fully recyclable packaging used to return your order.
3. What can people do to better preserve their clothes and avoid fast fashion?
There are a number of things that can be done to help increase the lifespan of a garment and save it from landfill. We have built a platform to educate our customers on the importance of proper clothing care. This is a big part of our mission to help you love your clothes for longer and to prevent garments from ending up in landfill.
We believe that investing in quality or choosing to buy second hand are the best ways to avoid fast fashion. You’ll also probably find yourself more committed to caring for an item you’ve invested in or a second-hand gem you’ve fallen in love with.
When it comes to wardrobe care, we recommend washing clothes less, and choosing a delicate hand wash over dry cleaning, which can cause damage to garments over time and negatively impact the environment. Mending clothes when you first notice damage is also a really important way of preserving an item’s condition.
4. What materials should people be looking for, when looking for more eco-friendly fashion?
Generally speaking, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are better for the planet than synthetic such as polyester or nylon. And if possible, it’s better to choose organic, such as organic cotton, which uses methods and materials that are less damaging to the environment. There are also lots of recycled fabrics available today – so these are even better if you’ve got that option. Always check the label to see exactly what the garment is made from.
Wool is another great fabric to choose over artificial. Not only does the wool industry use less chemicals, water, and dye than others, clothes made from wool require less maintenance because they are moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial so need washing less regularly.
5. What are your top tips for starting a sustainable wardrobe?
When starting a sustainable wardrobe, it’s important not to dismiss what you already own. My top tip would be to look at the garments in your wardrobe and consider whether there is anything that can be done to give an item a new lease of life or transform it into something new. The possibilities really are endless.
If you are looking to expand your wardrobe, choose quality over quantity, buy second-hand, or even consider renting your wardrobe if you are looking to stay up to date with the latest styles. All of these will ensure you are getting the most from the pieces you invest in, and that they are going to last for as long as possible. Sustainability is ultimately about longevity when it comes to clothing, being committed to caring for the items in your wardrobe and moving away from a ‘wear it once’ mindset.
6. You sell some wonderful clothing care products, are people washing their clothes incorrectly?
If so what is the best way to wash clothes to be eco-friendly and also maintain our clothing?
On the whole, there seems to be quite a lot of misinformation about clothing care out there. For example, it’s quite common to find that luxury items such as silk or cashmere are labelled as dry clean only, but this does not necessarily mean that this is the best way to care for the garment. We developed our Eco Washes as an alternative to dry cleaning, and we believe that these actually wash items better than dry cleaning, not to mention that it’s much more environmentally friendly. All of our products have been developed in-house using our experience of fabrics and garment care, so we try and communicate this knowledge as much as possible to our customers.
Washing at lower temperatures is another really simple way of keeping clothes looking their best, and to reduce the environmental impact of laundry. The key to this is using a high-performance wash such as our Signature or Sportswear products, which clean efficiently at low temperatures. Generally speaking, any kind of heat can damage clothes, whether that’s tumble drying or ironing, so dry naturally wherever possible. Steaming is another alternative method to washing our clothes and works wonderfully to refresh garments.
If you want to learn more about Lulu and Clothes Doctor then check out their website!