Each week at the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Petra Ringström – co-founder and senior advisor of Steamery – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about how making your clothes last longer is key to being more sustainable.
Do you iron every fabric even if you shouldn’t? Do you wash each item you wear after just one use? And if your jumper gets bobbly, old and tatty, do you throw it in the bin? The way you look after the clothes you already own is just as important as the new items you invest in. Yes, you can buy from eco-conscious brands and opt for sustainable materials, but if you’re not looking after them properly, they won’t be an investment with longevity. This is where Steamery comes in.
Stockholm-born brand Steamery aims to reduce clothing waste (over 3,000 tonnes go to landfill in the UK alone each year), by helping everyone to look after their clothing. Creating the tools in order to do so, the brand co-founded by Petra Ringström in 2014 has clothes steamers that will reduce damage and also help to clean clothes between washes, fabric shavers to make bobbly knitwear look like new, and a whole host of natural laundry detergents.
Making simple lifestyle swaps is an easy way to have a more sustainable impact on the planet. Here, the Sustainable Shopper talks to Petra to find out more about how we can all care for the clothes we have.
What is your earliest memory of sustainability?
Petra: Growing up with a mother and grandma who both worked in fashion, I learned about the importance of quality and good materials. And in the island outside of Sweden where I grew up, we have always cherished locally produced products, so from early on this was ingrained in my mindset, values and habits.
Sustainability is important to me for many reasons. At this point when we have limited global resources, I believe we all need to reflect on and change our consumption habits, especially in the fashion industry. One part of this is clothing care.
Take care of the clothes that you already own to make them last longer – the life of a garment today is unnecessarily short – and that’s something I dedicate my days to at Steamery.
Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?
There are so many factors to consider in the equation of making fashion truly sustainable; the materials, chemicals, wastewater volumes, transport, and then the aftercare. So, it’s about the whole industry being innovative, responsible and coming up with new solutions but it’s also about the consumers buying smart and then taking care of what they already own.
It’s a huge challenge for the industry, and it will take time, but the fashion industry is known for its creativity
Investment pieces vs fast fashion: how do you get customers to care?
I think it’s about being inspiring and educating. Buying investment pieces doesn’t mean you have to buy boring essential basics and empty your wallet. You can buy your investment pieces vintage, which will save you a lot of money. Find your own style and think about what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful and build your unique wardrobe.
Once you have bought what you love, take care of your treasures using the right tools and when they no longer work for you, sell them to the next owner to give the garment a new lease of life.
And remember, if you take care of your clothes they will last so much longer, which means it doesn’t have to cost you as much in the long run.
Who is your favourite sustainable fashion influencer?
In the UK, I like both Chloe Miles and Venetia La Manna. I get inspired by them and they’re very educational, using their platforms to educate others.
Three sustainable shopping hacks
- Buy vintage – I love Vestiaire Collective’s app.
- Hire outfits – for example, rent a dress for a special occasion rather than buying.
- Take care of and repair your clothes – it’s very time-saving and easy to implement.
Sustainable Shopper edit at Steamery:
The best-seller at Steamery. A minimalistic hand-steamer that makes your clothes crease-free, fresh and long lasting.
Steamery pilo shaver
Get rid of the pills on your knits. This fabric shaver works like magic and is one of our best-selling products.
Steamery laundry detergent
Works like a conditioner on your knits and silks and is biodegradable and is manufactured in a climate neutral factory in Sweden.
This floor-standing home-steamer is a powerful and efficient alternative to both ironing and washing. Your clothes will be wrinkle-free, smooth and fresh and it also removes bad smells, shallow dirt and bacteria.
Steamery clothing and shoe mist
An active bacteria culture that helps eliminate unwanted odours. You can pack it on your travels or simply mist in between washes.
Steamery tumble dryer balls
A great alternative to fabric softeners. These wool balls will cut your tumble dry time and remove static electricity. Lasts for 3-5 years.
Steamery white laundry detergent
This detergent makes your white clothes stay white – without using any bleach. It also specialises in removing all kinds of stains, and to create a coating around the fibres in order to even avoid future stains.
Images: courtesy of Steamery and brands