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A conscious guide to clothing care

From cashmere to silk and suede, here are the best and most eco-friendly ways to care for luxury clothes

7 April 2022

Adding beautiful clothes to our wardrobes is easy, but making sure they last involves a little more time and thought. Knowing what your garments are made from is the first step to understanding how they like to be loved, cared for and cherished. From then on, you can just follow this simple guide.



Slipping into something soft and glossy always makes us feel elegant and special – that’s why silk captivates with its lustrous shine and gorgeous drape. More often than not, you’ll find the circular ‘Dry Clean Only’ symbol on silk’s care labels. Stick to this, but use a green dry cleaner such as Hicks of Chelsea, a family-run business on Pavilion Road that uses eco-friendly technologies and pure solvents. To further reduce your impact on the planet, keep the fabric fresh between services by hanging it somewhere that air can naturally circulate through the fibres. 



Thanks to how breathable, reliable and versatile it is, many of us have more cotton hanging in our wardrobes than any other fabric. The rule here is to wash less often and wash cold using a gentle, plant-based detergent that’s free from any harsh and potentially harmful ingredients. “Choosing lower temperatures reduces the risk of shrinkage and colour fading,” says Hicks.  

Whenever you can, skip the tumble drying stage as it’s the most energy-intensive step. Instead, hang your whites out in the sunshine to really brighten them up, and for darker garments, smooth out any creases before placing them on a rack when they’re damp. 


Store your sweaters away for summer in zip-lock bags



It’s easy to fall for how snuggly and cosy cashmere can be, but it will only ever earn the title of a timeless style investment if you look after it properly – and with a dollop of patience. You can usually wash cashmere by hand after every three wears, but it’s best to check the label on finer knits. Carefully squeeze it dry (never wring or twist) before laying it flat on a clean towel. “It’s important to avoid hanging cashmere items as this can make them lose their shape,” adds Hicks. 

Between washes, keep your cashmere looking and smelling fresh with a pill comb and a non-toxic fabric spray to eliminate odours. The Laundress has a cedar scent that pesky moths will hate, and it’ll double up as a protective spritz whenever it’s time to store your sweaters away for summer in zip-lock bags. 


Suede and leather

When it comes to anything that’s made from suede or leather, act fast – the phrase “better late than never” doesn’t really apply here. Use a protective spray or cream (depending on the texture) before you step out in unpredictable weather, and keep it topped up for best results. “If you’ve been caught in the London rain, don’t leave leather to dry near a heat source – this can age the material or even shrink it. Instead, leave your garment to air out naturally in a dry space,” Hicks explains. Then, stow your handbags or shoes in their dust bags between wears to prevent anything from settling on the uppers, hardware or embellishments.


Hicks of Chelsea is at 168a Pavilion Rd, SW1X 0AW. It offers free collection and delivery throughout Chelsea

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