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Giving Consumers Better Information on Garment Maintenance

Marie Becker
June 18, 2024

Garments today lack even basic instructions about how to care for them, compounded with the fact that many consumers remove care tags as they can bother. This leaves consumers with little guidance on how to care for their clothes. To complicate matters, symbols on garment tags are often obscure to anyone not well versed in clothing production and materials, making it challenging to understand how to maintain garments properly to last in their closet longer. Addressing the environmental impact of the fashion industry, in addition to the garments impact before reaching the consumer, requires customers to learn how to care for their garments effectively, as better cared for products last longer and are more easily recycled.

Common wardrobe care mistakes can significantly shorten the lifespan of clothing and accessories. Yet, we don't want all garments to come with an extensive user manual, like you might find with an everyday appliance like a microwave. This is where MĀDI’s solution can play a crucial role in extending the life of products, providing a way for brands to educate their customers on full comprehensive garment care and maintenance just by a quick scan on their phone. With this approach, brands can also understand eco-design with insights not seen before, drawing on the application’s data to address common and recurring product defects. This understanding of a garment's life cycle—beyond the point-of-sale — helps brands construct better-quality products from the onset.

Having a platform where customers can interact with and care for their garments strengthens the bond with these items, enhancing the intrinsic value that garments can hold for those who truly cherish their wardrobe. By providing comprehensive care information on proper garment maintenance, we can significantly extend the lifespan of garments and accessories.

Let's highlight some common wardrobe mistakes in our series on how consumers can best care for their clothes. At MĀDI, our mission is to help brands connect with their customers post-sale to minimize waste by encouraging them to keep their products longer by taking better care of them so they can go on to live another life with a new owner or be recycled. With MĀDI’s digital IDs, we provide detailed care instructions based on the fabric and type of product and facilitate access to repair services wherever the customer may be in the world.

The circular fashion system is driven by five key principles for reducing textile waste: the five 'R's - reduce, repair, rewear, resell, and recycle. These principles are at the heart of MĀDI's approach to cutting textile waste and promoting sustainability. Here's how three of the R’s intervene in a proper wardrobe maintenance:

  • Rewear: By offering detailed care information that goes beyond the washing tag, we aim to inspire consumers to have a stronger connection with clothes, where they want to wear their clothing more often. This approach encourages consumers to keep garments in their wardrobes longer.
  • Repair: Through MĀDI’s partnerships around the world, consumers can swiftly access repair or alteration services through their digital IDs.
  • Reduce: By offering greater accessibility and more detailed care information for a product, we aim to empower consumers to cherish what they own, keeping the product in good shape, reducing the need for frequent purchases when a product breaks or loses its quality.

We share some below examples of proper care maintenance for consumers to help them care for their garments, making them more durable and extending the life of those products.

  • Avoid Hanging of Knitwear: Knitwear can stretch and lose its shape when hung on hangers. Instead, fold sweaters, cardigans, and other knit items and store them in drawers or on shelves.
  • Removing Plastic Packaging: Plastic packaging restricts airflow, leading to moisture build-up and potential damage to the fabric. Remove plastic covers from dry-cleaned clothes and store them in breathable garment bags.
  • Filling Shoes and Bags: Shoes and bags can lose their shape if left empty for too long. Use shoe trees or stuff shoes with tissue paper to help maintain their shape. For bags, consider using bag inserts.
  • Avoid Damp Conditions for Clothing Storage: Moisture can lead to mildew and mold. Ensure the closet or wardrobe area is dry and has proper ventilation.
  • Proper Cleaning Practices: Washing clothes too frequently or using harsh detergents can damage fabrics. Follow care labels on garments and use mild detergents. For delicate items, consider hand washing or using a gentle cycle.

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