The Care Label Project is a global project introduced by AEG and supported by The Woolmark Company, Fashion Revolution, adidas, Houdini and Not Just A Label raising awareness for the damaging and non-sustainable ways we care for our clothing. 14 upcoming designers working on the project have created the Care Label Collection which uses the specially developed "Don't Overwash" care label to uproot traditional methods of washing garments.
The collection has been tested in AEG's latest machines using the Modern Care Guide to prove that care labels are outdated. The Modern Care Guide is a modernized guide to garment care that challenges current care labels such as "Dry Clean Only" and "Do Not Tumble Dry." The designers have boldly decided to add the new "Don't Overwash" care label to their own collections and the Care Label Project offers use of the label to all designers and brands via its website.
To better understand their goals and roles within the project, we took a closer look at four of the designers: Doriane van Overeem, Tim Labenda, Clara Martin and Han Ates.
Doriane van Overeem
Doriane van Overeem’s mission is to empower women and challenge notions around how they should act and behave. The Belgian designer's Fall/Winter 2016 collection, “Don’t tell me to calm down,” addressed taboo subjects around female behavior and took a broad swipe at the status quo within the fashion industry.
Doriane’s mother has been a clothing collector since before she was born and being surrounded by quality garments has made her value quality over quantity. She rejects mass consumption and fast fashion by using hyper-local Belgian production hoping to incentivise consumers to buy less and buy better.
As a Care Label Project designer she takes a stand against “Dry Clean Only” labels which she believes are a suppliers way of abandoning responsibility for a garment. “Suppliers are putting Dry Clean Only on the label because they don’t want to take any responsibility if the garment is ruined,”Doriane explains. “But most of the time when it is written Dry Clean Only you could actually just wash it at a lower temperature in a washing machine."
Tim Labenda is a wool specialist and was awarded the Woolmark Prize Europe in 2016; the jury expressed elation towards Tim’s work, “he showcases the versatility of the fiber with luxurious hand-crafted details.”
Tim refers to wool as “the most relevant fabric of them all,” and believes it is the material of the future. Using wool and other sustainable fabrics he hopes to send a message and impact the fashion industry’s current, non-sustainable practices.
Tim wants to change the delicate perception of wool and people’s approach to caring for it. “You have these new technologies where you can tumble dry wool in a very easy way, and you don’t have to fear wool anymore," he explained. “I think you can tumble dry everything if it’s just on the right program."
Clara Martin designs non-traditional menswear that challenges prototypical men’s fashion. Her goal is to provide men with as many wardrobe options as women and give them the confidence to experiment with colors, shapes, patterns and textures.
Clara’s mother and grandmother both worked in the textile industry. However, they objected to her taking a similar path having seen the industry move towards fast fashion and cheap materials. She recognized the issue but ignored their advice, and instead set out to change the industry’s damaging ways.
Regarding garment care, she feels manufacturers are too precautious with care labels which encourage non-sustainable washing habits. For example, hand washing consumes time and water, and can stress fibers, Clara believes “you can put a piece of knitwear on a gentle cycle instead of only doing hand washing."
Han Ates & Blackhorse Lane Ateliers
Having experienced first-hand the fashion industry’s unceasing acceleration and indiscriminate consumption of resources, Han Ates decided to take a stand.
His denim brand, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers aims to sell each customer just a single pair of jeans that will last them a lifetime thanks to a complimentary lifetime guarantee and free repair service. The brand’s vision makes it a sustainable, ethical and transparent force within fashion and sends an unmistakable message to the industry.
Denim, like any fabric, lasts longer when washed less and at lower temperatures. “If you wash your garments and jeans less, at a lower temperature, you will prolong their lifetime,” says Hans. “That way you will spend less money and you will use fewer resources from the world."
Find out more about the Care Label Project by checking out the site and following #carelabelproject. Interested in getting involved and changing the way fashion works? Send them an email and find out how.