The sustainable impact of a garment has to be looked at from the whole lifecycle of a garment, not just the manufacturing. We would never make a garment that would have to be dry-cleaned, we always make sure that our garments are able to be simply gentle machine washed or hand-washed with a mild detergent and line dried. Factors we recommend to look at are:
Choice of detergent - The most important.
I presume that you aren't wearing our garments to play rugby, change oil in the car or have a mud bath. I would sure hope so! Therefore you don't need detergents designed to clean garments for those purposes. They have all sorts of chemicals in them, ranging from bleach and perfumes to colour boosters, which in turn affects the fabric and strips the colour out of the clothes and shortens the life. At the studio when we prewash all of garments, we use Earth Choice for delicates on all of our styles and fabrics (Not sponsored in any way!). Even on our customers with very sensitive skin find they have no issue with it, causing no irritation.
Gentle machine wash or hand-wash - It's what we recommend.
Gentle is best for the longevity of your clothes. Most gentle cycles on machines have low spin cycles, and its one of the most important parts. High spins crush the garment against the side, potentially stretch it out of shape and make the garment need ironing. The extra water remaining in the clothes at the end is actually a positive! With the extra weight of the water it helps creases fall out and then there is no need to iron.
We over-wash our clothes - If it's not dirty, don't wash it.
Bear with me here. People reduce the life of garments by washing clothes unnecessarily. Sure if the clothes have food stains, sweaty, or are dirty, washing is the way to go, but if you have a garment that barely touches or doesn't touch your skin, don't wash it every time you wear it. A simple airing is all it needs. Vivienne Westwood, the queen of sustainable fashion, is always going on about it.
Line drying is the way to go - Careful of the sun!
Line drying is how we dry all of our pre-washed clothes here at our studio. Ironing sucks, don't make laundry duty harder. When drying outside, make sure that your clothes are in the shade, as the sun can bleach your clothes very quickly, turning that lovely black into a washed out grey. We use padded hangers at Sustainable Fashion, leaving no hanger or peg marks.
I hope that these little tips help you keep your clothes for longer and help out the planet at the same time!