That can still be the case, says Tara Button, founder and CEO of BuyMeOnce.com.
I came up with the idea for BuyMeOnce (my website that celebrates things that are built to last) while washing my Le Creuset cooking pot which has a lifetime guarantee. I was thinking how nice it was that I never had to buy this pot again, it was off my “to do” list forever. It made me wonder what other products were out there that lasted longer than their competition and wouldn't it be great if there was a site where they were all in the same place.
I have to admit, when I started searching for products to put on the website, I wasn't expecting to find many clothes. But as I delved deeper, some wonderful brands came to light.
Darn Tough socks were my first find. I’d never thought I'd find a sock with a lifetime guarantee, but there they were! They're so well made, that if you're ever unhappy with them, EVER, you can send them back for a new pair. (All of my family got a pair for Christmas and have promised to report back to me on their performance.)
Next I found out about Dr Martens “for life” shoes and boots. Made with toughened leather, they last even longer than regular Dr Martens and they will fix them if they ever go wrong for a small fee or replace them if they can’t fix them.
Oroblu Tights claim to be virtually indestructible, which, incidentally, tights used to be when they were first made (my grandmother reminds me of this regularly).
I was also thrilled when I found out about Patagonia, a wonderful clothing brand who not only make fantastically durable clothes, but promise to fix them for life as well. Nudie Jeans also make this offer and I love them for it.
It's not just the material and craftsmanship that I feel should be durable, but the style as well. I'm a big fan of multi-way dresses for this reason. You might get bored of one dress, but with a multi-way, you have heaps of options of how to wear the dresses and change up your style.
But why should we want clothes that last a long time? Doesn't fashion constantly change? Well, yes it does. Fashion needs to constantly change to get people to buy new things and, sad to say, feel bad about their old stuff. You might look at a perfectly good sweater in your cupboard and think, “OMG this jumper is so 90s! I can't wear that!”
1.5 million tons of clothes get thrown away every year in the UK. That's 120,000 London buses' worth. Imagine all those buses lined up bumper to bumper for 74 miles – that would take you from London to Cambridge and you’d still have 8 miles to go. What a traffic jam! And that’s just one year. This is horrifying. This throwaway trend is incredibly wasteful. It encourages us to think of clothes as something that can be worn a couple of times, then tossed and it’s no big deal because it didn’t cost very much to start off with.
But it does cost. Buying lots of shoddily made items over time costs us and it costs the planet too. It costs the planet in materials, the energy to make the garment and then ship it too. Buying one lovely well-made durable item that you cherish and look after and make part of your identity, your capsule wardrobe, your beautiful personal uniform is incredibly rewarding and I want to invite you to join me to say no to fast fashion and throwaway clothes, and join the BuyMeOnce revolution!
After all, Marge Simpson has been wearing the same dress since 1989 and she completely rocks it every time.
Tara Button, founder of BuyMeOnce.com
Find out more
If you know of any great clothing brands that are doing their bit to become more sustainable and durable, please let me know and you might see your suggestion on the site very soon. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.buymeonce.com.