And what does sustainable washing even mean? Let’s start at the beginning. Before we even launched our brand, Cucumber Clothing, we believed that clothes should do more than dress the body. We researched endlessly to find the best, super soft fabrics that moved with the body and that used the latest technology to keep you feeling fresh, whatever the weather or the state of your hormones. Women’s bodies have a timeline and direction of their own. We designed our clothes to support that. With everything designed, sampled and manufactured in a five-mile radius in London we doubled down on being a true slow fashion brand.
During our endless hours of research, we stumbled across the idea of ‘sustainable washing’. First popularised by the fabulous fashion eco-queen, Stella McCartney, her training on Savile Row led her to understand that cleaning clothes is something you do only when truly needed. Brushing and spot washing can deal with the majority of any issues. Stella says, ‘“Basically, in life, rule of thumb: if you don’t absolutely have to clean anything, don’t clean it.” We took her mantra of sustainable washing and ran with it.
Imagine your favourite top (our oversize tee in Pacific Blue for instance) and throwing it over your sweaty sports bra and leggings post-Pilates for a long walk with the dog. Back home, settled into WFM, you can swap out the bra and leggings for some wide-leg jeans and wider belt – but the same tee. That evening, you keep the tee and pull on long cosy fleece-lined trackies and cashmere socks to switch off with Netflix. Finally, keep the tee and socks and snuggle into bed. How? Technical fabrics have seriously moved on since the days of ill-fitting, cotton-based fabrics. Our baby soft fabrics not only move and stretch effortlessly with the body, they also last up to six times longer than cotton. The tech aspect means sweat is constantly moved up and away from the body and built-in antimicrobials keep everything smelling fresh time after time. The fabrics are all cold machine or hand wash, hang dry and no ironing, all essential elements of sustainable washing. We say wear more, wash less.
Feel like giving it a try? Here are golden rules:
- Washing in cold, not hot water, can significantly reduce energy consumption. Water heaters are major contributors to energy use.
- Spot wash, dust off, brush instead of automatically chucking everything into the machine after one wear. It almost never needs it.
- Hang dry your clothes. Dryers increase energy consumption. Using the sun, or your already warm living space won’t.
- Invest in high-quality, beautifully made clothes that will last several lifetimes. One of the largest contributors to a piece of clothing’s carbon footprint is how many times it is worn. Buy thoughtfully, wash thoughtfully and pass on or reinvent, rather than discard.
You are on your way to being a true sustainable washer.