One of the key pillars of sustainable fashion is longevity. If a garment or accessory breaks after one season and has to be discarded, it can hardly be considered sustainable: fashion ending up in landfill is, after all, one of the industry's biggest environmental problems. The clothing that ends up in landfill emits greenhouse gases and pollutes the area, creating even more destruction to be added to the resources already needed to make the garment.
In order to ensure that your brand-new vegan biker jacket, cruelty-free handbag or pair of plant-leather boots stand the test of time, caring for your garment or accessory should be a priority. With simple care, you can make sure that this item will stay in your wardrobe for years, making new memories and becoming a beloved wardrobe staple.
Clean it well. Give your vegan leather a regular wipe-down with a damp cloth, ensuring it stays dust-free and any stains cannot set. To clean metal hardware, use an old toothbrush.
Use “sunscreen” or ''baby oil''. The sun can make your faux leather crack quite easily, and nothing is as disappointing and heart-crushing as cracking on your beloved biker jacket or cracks in your shoes. To avoid this, use Vaseline or baby oil on your vegan leather – an easy trick that will ensure your leather holds up well in the sunshine.
Check the washing instructions. Got a pair of trousers or a leather skirt? You might be in luck and it could be machine-washable – but don't chuck it in without reading the instructions. Best to use a cold cycle (that is more eco-friendly anyway), skip the spin and let your items air-dry.
Treat stains with eucalyptus oil. If your item has a mark, you might try eucalyptus oil to clean it. Give it a gentle rub with a non-abrasive cloth and hopefully, that will be the last time you see that stain. And when it comes to stains, stay away from bleach!
Store it well. It's not just all about the cleaning: storage and maintenance of vegan leather is key in preserving it well. Choose a cool, dry place without much humidity. Don't put all your vegan leathers next to one another – give them some space to breathe so they don't rub against each other. Keep your vegan bag in its original dustbag and store your shoes in their boxes. Preferably, the paper these items were stuffed with when you received them should stay there whenever the items are not in use, to help keep their shape.
Conditioning. A good trick to keep vegan leather lasting longer is to condition it (yes, like your hair). Use a leather conditioner which works for vegan leather – once again, check the label, as there will be difficulty to absorb the conditioner if there is a PU coating on the leather – to make sure it protects from cracking and drying out.
Avoid over-washing. We've all recently been told not to over-wash our clothes for environmental reasons, and this is even more true when it comes to faux leather. Washing it too often might cause the material to become brittle and more prone to flaking. So air it out, wipe it down, and keep the washing to a minimum.