[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Did you know we only wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time? That means there’s 80% of our entire collection of clothing (or on average €500 worth) sitting un-worn and taking up space. So why don’t we wear those items and how can you learn to love your wardrobe again? I went to the Future Fabrics event in Café Moskau in Berlin with P&G to find out. Read the first instalment of this piece here.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]95% of the decisions we make on a daily basis are made on a subconscious level and our senses play a massive role. Of course there’s lots of things lurking in your wardrobe that don’t fit any more/have gone out of fashion/are for special occasions etc., but what you choose to wear each day isn’t only based on what you see in front of you. How stuff feels and smells combine with how they look to impact your final decision on what you wear. P&G have been researching the cognitive science of clothes and studying the relationship we have with our wardrobes and the multi-sensory element behind our perceptions and preferences.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Mary Katranzou spoke with fashion journalist Gianluca Longo about the future of fabrics from a designer’s point of view, “understanding fabrics is the most important part of what we do”. She explained how important it is for a detergent company to work with designers to help prevent that “first wash anxiety.” “When you develop a new fabric you must learn how to care for it.” Surprisingly, I learned that dry cleaning isn’t always the best thing for your clothes and sometimes it’s just stuck on the label because the knowledge isn’t there to know how to look after these new fabrics.
“Fashion is changing with the emergence of future fabrics”, Mary says. For example her Mary Katranzou x Adidas Originals range using neoprene. “Five years ago buyers wouldn’t take polyester.” P&G research into how to care for synthetics has changed customers’ perception.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]So how does all this relate to getting more wear out of the clothes in your wardrobe, you might be asking? When you wash your clothes you’re getting rid of stains and smells, right? But does your detergent help prevent those stains and odours from reappearing? I’ll admit, it’s something I never really thought about until I saw the difference in front of my eyes in black and white (and colour!). It’s pretty much a given that washing powder and liquids lift stains and odours from fabrics, but what’s also important is that they don’t disperse in the wash and deposit back on your clothes. Incomplete stain removal like this can lead to reappearance later or smells re-emerging when warmed up by body heat (ew!).
Just look at these dresses from Asos. The front one is new, the middle is washed with one of P&G’s biggest competitors and the back one washed with Ariel. Notice the grey veil of the white in the middle dress and blurring of the sharp graphic lines and how neither of this is present in the dress washed with Ariel. Seeing this made it a little easier to comprehend how I probably wouldn’t choose to wear this dress any more if it looked so dull and lost it’s vibrancy.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Subconsciously, what you choose to wear when rooting through your wardrobe is largely based on your senses. The feel of your clothes, the smells and of course what you see. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather or fancy a cosy evening in, you’ll want something soft and comforting on your skin. If you’re dressing for an interview then maybe you’ll be looking (and feeling) for something that will help you look and feel smart and sharp so you’ll need crisp, clean lines. The thing is, you won’t find the properties you want in your clothes if you don’t care for them right.
The setting on your washer/dryer isn’t the only thing that can cause your clothes to shrink, just look at this Kenzo t-shirt that was washed on the same heat and cycle length, the only difference was using Ariel and Lenor over a competitor. I really wouldn’t have believed the difference a simple choice of what brand you pick up at the supermarket could make on your clothes. The particles in Lenor are smaller to lubricate fibres which helps prevent rubbing that can equal damage to these delicate fibres leading to shrinkage, fraying and accelerated wear and tear of the fabric. Without this the fibres aren’t aligned right giving a dull appearance, like healthy hair conditioned and brushed well will look shinier…it’s very similar with material.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]If you think of it like your cleanse, tone and moisturise routine for your skin, or even how you care for your hair and the split ends we try and salvage to avoid a trip to the hairdressers. Fabric softener can act like a moisturiser for your skin making the fibres in your clothes more flexible so you don’t get that uncomfortable strain in your sleeves or itchy friction from (what used to be) your favourite jumper but is now rough, scratchy and noisy from damage. It smoothes the fibres like conditioner does with your hair cuticles, meaning less bobbling and piling on your clothes so they look newer for longer. Without being aware why, you’ll pretty much always choose what feels better on your skin and smells subtly good. The scent of your clothing impacts your choice because of it’s massive emotional power on the senses. Smells evoke memories so vividly and can alter your mood. Giles Deacon teamed up with P&G to help create a line of Lenor softeners bringing fashion and freshness together. [dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]In addition, Giles designed a future fabrics ‘washable fashion’ collection for Ariel, featuring fabrics than can be cared for at home…fully machine washable.
I caught up with Giles to pick his brains about what it really means for us, the consumer.
How important is it for you that there’s a follow through from sourcing fabrics to production to consumer in terms of creating a final piece that is something that women can be confident will age well and be an investment piece?
“It’s critical! Since I’ve been working with P&G Fabric Care and have met the fibre scientists who study fabrics and the fibres within our clothes, I realise that selecting a fabric is so important – because if you choose a good fabric which can be cleaned and cared for, it can stay looking great.”
What was your inspiration for the collection and how does fabric selection influence your designs?
“The Lenor Dress for Yes collection is about clothes which give you confidence to embrace special moments. They are all outfits which make you feel great and making it work all day long. Lenor delivers a beautiful freshness for clothes, with every move, throughout the day, so you can feel free to say yes to whatever you want to do during the day and into the evening, so I wanted my collection to reflect that.”[dt_gap height=”10” /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]How do you see the future of fabrics in terms of caring for our clothes and educating the consumer? And how important is it that designers like yourself work with fabric care brands and scientists?
“There are so many new fabrics in our wardrobes today. In the last few years thousands of new fabrics have been created. Neoprenes, composites of polycottons – it’s endless. There are so many new compositions and blends of fabrics in the modern wardrobe. If you look inside your own wardrobe, I bet it’s not just cottons and denim anymore. And of course, we all want to be able to clean and care for these new types of fabrics – so it’s great that P&G Fabric Care is taking the lead with products which can maintain the beauty of these new fabrics. I firmly believe that fashion should be for everyone. This is why I’m so supportive of P&G’s efforts to show how new fabrics can actually be washable and fashionable too – the two words are no longer mutually exclusive.”
Did nostalgia have a part to play in choosing the scent for the new Lenor range?
“Well I learnt form P&G’s expert perfumiers that scent is often linked to memory – that’s why fragrance can be so powerful and emotive and personal too. The beauty of the Lenor range though, is that there is a truly a scent that everyone will love, no matter what you associate with that smell.”[dt_gap height=”10” /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I can honestly say the trip changed the way I think about washing my clothes, if I’m spending well earned cash on pieces I love it makes sense to look after them so they last longer and the good news is it doesn’t take any extra effort just some smart choices.
To help digest all that science it’s always good to end the day with dinner set in a room like this…[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Disclaimer: I travelled to Berlin as a guest of P&G. I have not been paid to write this blog post.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]