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Mel Tually

Australian Fashion Revolution Coordinator, Fashion Consultant

Do you have a love story in your wardrobe?

I have lots of love stories in my wardrobe.  A couple of things in particular: a beautiful big trench coat that I found in a really cool vintage store in Paris, years and years ago.  Goodness knows how old it was when I bought it, but it is now still standing the test of time and is a really classic style.  I always think back to that day and having an op-shop frenzy and it was really cheap as well!  I also have an awesome belt that I picked up for 5 quid on Brick Lane in London that gets a comment pretty much every time I wear it and has now been with me for about 20 years.  I love it, and I don´t think I will ever part with it.

Question: What’s one tip you live by to extend the life of your clothes?

I actually read the labels.  Looking at the care instructions and caring for your clothes the way they need to be cared for is one of the best things you can do to actually extend their life.  So if it says ¨don´t put it in the machine¨, then don´t machine wash it. If it says ¨dry clean only¨ -- it says that for a reason.  If it says ¨don´t mix with colours¨  there is a reason as well.  A lot of people don´t even think about the care label and therefore items get shrunk, the colour runs, and ends up in the bottom of their wardrobes. I´ve always done a lot of handwashing on the weekends because I buy a lot of fibres that need to be hand washed - but that is a commitment I make when I purchase an item of clothing, I commit to caring for it properly.

Question: What’s your rule when buying clothes for yourself?

I look at the fibres and the materials -- that is a big part of my purchasing decisions now.  I look for natural fibres, I look for fibres that will breath.  I also look at what the care instructions mean. When I purchase something I will consider  -- is it something that is natural? Is it something that is containing a lot of chemicals that I will injest in my skin?  That is a very big consideration. And, how much effort do I have to go through to care for that [clothing item] to make sure that it stays in its best possible standard for as long as possible.  I avoid synthetics as much as possible - I want my skin to breath.   I also think back to the conditions that [the clothes] are made in and the impact on the workers at source. So I tend to go for organic fibres.

I think there is a really small test that we can all apply  - and that is the 30 wears rule. So if you can look at a garment in a shop and say ¨I can commit to wearing that for 30 wears¨ then it is a good purchase.  If you are thinking of buying something you might only wear once, and never again, -- then perhaps that needs some review.  The #30wears hashtag is a good rule to have in your head -- if you can wear it much longer than that, then great! It stops the impulse buy and is a good little rule.


 

Worldwide consumption of textiles is around 74 million tonnes per year, growing at about 4% per year – but only 20% of textiles are recycled . Celebrate the power of second-hand clothing in keeping textiles in use for longer by joining the #secondhandfirst pledge at http://www.traid.org.uk/