If you're landing on this blog, the first thing we want you to do is ask yourself a question - do you know if what you're wearing right now is well-made? If the answer is no, then you are grouped in with most shoppers worldwide. The issue lies in the fact that the majority of clothing on the high street is poorly made, which can lead to a disposability mentality. This is where when people buy clothes, and it inevitably breaks, it will end up in landfill a relatively short time after purchase. Large amounts of nonrenewable resources are extracted to produce these clothes that are worn for only a short period, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incineration.
If clothing is made to be disposed of, rather than allowing at least 30 wears, then we increase waste by drastic amounts. The big problem at stake is that the practice of designing for disposability has become the dominant approach, and it is difficult to find garments which are actually well-made and made to last.
It is so important for garments to be well-made, so that they will last more than just a couple of seasons. Well-made, sturdy and durable garments are great, because you can move in them freely without worrying that something will break. They can also be washed time and time again and still keep their original shape, size and colour. So if you are convinced that high-quality clothing is the way forward, here are four easy ways to tell if a garment is well-made!
1. The seam stitches do not pull - seams should ideally be overlocked or finished as 'french seams'.
There is a lot more to clothing than meets the eye. Sometimes you have to look at the small stuff to really tell if a garment is well-made. The seams of a garment are generally a fail-proof indicator of its quality so taking the time to look at them will pay off in the long-run! In fact, most fast fashion low-budget manufacturers like to save money and time by skipping the extra seam work it takes to make a durable, long-lasting and well-made garment. So next time you are out shopping, do the all-important pull test to ensure that a garment's stitches do not pull.
2. The material is a tight weave
A well-made garment will be made from a material which is a tight weave. Tight weave fabrics are stronger, more durable and particularly good at holding their shape. Tightly woven materials also eliminate air pockets and that uncomfortable, sweaty feeling that we tend to associate with low breathability. To easily check that a garment is tightly woven and that the fibres will not become loose over time, just hold a garment up to the light. Now, stretch the fabric to see how tightly woven it is and how much give it has. Thinner, lower quality garments will have lots of give and let through loads of light in comparison to well-made, higher quality garments.
Sometimes chiffon and knitted fabrics are not tightly woven - which is fine but expect to wash these garments by hand.
3. You expect to wash the garment by hand
If the garment's label tells you that it must be washed by hand, odds are that garment is higher quality or is made from a synthetic fibre - so pull up the fabric label and read the content. Washing by hand helps to retain a garment's colour and shape so by taking proper note of the laundry instructions, you will also help make a well-made garment last even longer. For more laundry tips, read Our Ten Top Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry.
4. The item is designed for versatility