We’re all aware that we live in a throwaway society. How many of us are guilty of having items in their wardrobe which still have their tags on, or buying a cheap tee only to have to chuck it within a few months? Not only is this bad on the bank balance, it’s also terrible for the environment. Did you know 1.5 million tons of clothes and textiles go straight into landfill sites in Britain every year? The rise in ‘fast fashion’ has lead to people just expecting clothes to last a few months, but if, like me, you love a good vintage tee or cool piece found deep in a thrift shop to team with your outfit, you’ll know you can pick up clothes which are decades old, and have stood the test of time. I’ve also experienced the pain of a finding a great new tee, only to find it becoming weird and warped ofter a couple of washes… So what’s going on? How come our clothes just don’t measure up anymore?
Tony Glenville, creative director at the London College of Fashion, puts it down to ‘planned obsolesce’ – that is garments made to literally fall apart at the seams after a few wears and washes so you literally have to go buy more. ‘Because clothes are so much cheaper today, our expectations are low. This means manufacturers can get away with producing clothing that isn’t well constructed or finished, meaning it’s lifespan is often just one season – sometimes, just a single wash’. Because manufacturers know we don’t check fabric quality and finishes anymore, they can get away with cheap fabrics and bad stitching, and churn out items as quickly as possible to make more money – the attitude of ‘pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap’. V&A fashion cataloguer Danial Milford-Cotttam has found ‘people spent more on their clothing in those days, and they were put together properly, with sturdy linings and strong seams’. Additionally, how many of us are guilty of throwing all our dirty clothes in the washing machine without checking what’s on that little satin label inside? Synthetic fibres and fabric blends don’t take well to water which is too hot as they may pill and shrink, which changes the shape of the whole garment.
With new activewear labels popping up left, right and centre, from new celeb lines released every day, to high-street retailers stocking rails with sports bras and motivational tanks, we are impulsively throwing a cheap ‘ n’ cheerful pair of leggings into the basket without really thinking, “how much is it going to cost, wear-for-wear?” A recent survey found most fashion purchases are worn just seven times before becoming deemed unwearable, so lets say you spend £15. Thats £15÷7=£2.14 per wear. Do this every month and soon, that’s quite a lot of money down the drain. Not only this, but how many times do you buy something, then never wear it? A study by QVC found British women waste £1.6bn on clothes they never wear, with an average of £285 worth of unworn clothes in the wardrobe. So how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of your wardrobe? As we are big lovers of great fitting activewear, we do our research to ensure every brand and garment stocked matches up to our standards, and so should you too….
Invest in fabrics made to last. Activewear is made from synthetic fibres as they’re better for performance (they don’t absorb moisture and wick sweat from the skin), but the types of fabric blends can widely vary. From dirt-cheap fabrics (think high street budget lines), to high tech blends made to work with your body and last wear after wear, check that label and find out the content. Yes, better fabrics will cost a little more, but you’ll soon see the value in them, from actually feeling the quality of the fabrics on your skin, to finding how much better they keep their satiny touch and shape wash after wash. You work hard for that booty. Give it the fabrics it deserves!
Before you get out your debit card, take a pause and really examine your garment. Try turning it inside out and asking yourself; how are those seams? They should be flat, straight and neat, with no threads coming loose. Pull the fabric around the stitching: you should see no holes or daylight coming through. Try them on and make sure there are no weak spots in the seams. You’ll find that all stretch fabrics have been stitched together using an overlock stitch, which allows them to spring back when you pull at them.
Lastly, knowing how to care for your activewear is key and as a team of activewear loving girls, we have taken the liberty to treat our activewear with the care it deserves, just like our silk blouses and LBD’s. From keeping bright colours from fading to making sure your sports bra stays as supportive as ever, there are a heap os tricks from adding a pitch of salt to cold water for bright neon colours, to using a wash bag for your sports bras, laying flat in the shade and turning in side out.
Activewear is a part of our daily wardrobes now, and the more we move our bodies and fit in workouts between our daily-to-dos, it’s only fair we start taking notice of our buying behaviour when shopping for new pieces. With so many amazing brands available from VARLEY, Under Armour, Vie Active, Lorna Jane, the list goes on, we are here to help inspire you to make the most of your activewear love affair and start noticing how you can get the most out of your beloved leggings.
Images sourced from Move Nourish Believe, Lorna Jane, VARLEY, and Adanola.