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P&G: 'Long Live Fashion Formula' Can Quadruple Life of Clothes

Top row, L-R: the Ariel + Lenor 3-step routine treatment from new through to 50 cycles; bottom row, L-R: competitor detergent treatment from new through to 50 cycles | Image credit: P&G

An announcement today from Procter & Gamble’s laundry brands, Ariel and Lenor (the European sister brands of Tide and Downy, here in the States), revealed that their ‘Long Live Fashion Formula’ could extend the life of clothes by four times, keeping them looking new for longer. By switching from a powder to liquid or single-unit-dose format such as Ariel pods; adding a Fabric Conditioner, such as Lenor; and washing on a cold and quick cycle, consumers can quadruple the life of their clothes. P&G estimates that extending the life of one in five garments in Europe by just 10 percent per year would save enough carbon to power half a million homes annually.

Global clothing production has more than doubled in the last 15 years but consumers keep clothes for just half the amount of time. With more than 20 percent of garments discarded because they have lost their shape, colour or integrity, the fashion industry is seen to be one of the most wasteful industries in the world.

But with better fabric care, fashion can live for much longer, keeping our favourite garments out of landfills. Research by Ariel and Lenor shows the signs of aging from washing and wearing can be vastly reduced with a simple switch to the ‘Long Live Fashion Formula.’

Long Live Fashion Formula:

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  • Step 1 — Use a high-quality liquid detergent: Liquids, gels and pods are tough on stains but gentle on fabrics, keeping them clean and fresh without damaging them.
  • Step 2 — Wash in cold and quick cycles: Washing at 40˚C uses more than double the amount of energy as washing in a cold and quick cycle, contributing to our individual carbon footprints. It also puts nearly double the amount of stress on your clothes, with quick and cool cycles shown to extend the life of garments significantly.
  • Step 3 — Add Lenor to the drawer: Like hair conditioners keep the texture of your hair smooth, fabric conditioners keep the fibres of garments intact so they don’t lose integrity over time. This helps to protect garments from losing shape and colour, as well as stopping them from bobbling/pilling.

Clothes require maintenance to preserve their beauty. The research tested the stresses on garments when washing under different conditions and showed remarkable differences in garment quality for those using the ‘long live fashion’ principles.

In an Ariel/Lenor trial, 18 typical household laundry basket garments were tested, including a bodycon dress, polo shirt, printed t-shirt and denim jeans. The ‘Long Live Fashion Formula’ extended on average four times the lifetime of garments over 50 washes.

Quadrupling the life of just one 3kg household basket of clothing would save 230kg CO2* — the carbon equivalent of driving nearly 600 miles (870km). The life extension of just that one basket would save 7,000 litres of water needed to create new clothes — much of which would be in water-scarce regions.

According to WRAP, if we extended the life of just one in five items in European wardrobes by only 10 percent, we could save 3 million tonnes in CO2 per year that would be generated from creating new clothes. This is equal to enough carbon to power half a million homes for a year. It could also save 150 million litres of water a year — enough to fill Big Ben 32 times over — and would divert 6.4 million tonnes of clothing from landfill.

The clothes longevity initiative by Lenor is one of the first under P&G’s newly announced Ambition 2030, the company’s new sustainability goals aimed at enabling and inspiring responsible consumption among consumers — a role perfectly suited to the ‘Long Live Fashion Formula.’

Speaking about the announcement at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Bert Wouters, Global VP for Fabric Enhancers at P&G, said: “Sourcing, production and recycling are the focus of a great deal of attention in fashion, but the impact of extending the life of clothes during the so-called ‘use phase’ has been largely ignored so far. We are delighted that the ‘Long Live Fashion Formula’ can help reduce the environmental burden of fashion.”

“We care for our hair and skin to keep it in good condition, so caring for your ‘second skin’ of clothes shouldn’t be any different,” added P&G’s Research Fellow, Dr. Neil Lant. “Clothes are subjected to stresses that age them when we wear and wash them. By using a high-quality liquid detergent that is tough on stains but gentle on fabrics and designed to work in cooler/quicker washes, and adding a fabric conditioner like Lenor, you can keep your favourite sweater looking new for much longer and reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe.”

*CO2 and water savings are based on WRAP’s calculations of clothes disposal and average carbon footprint per tonne of clothing. All footprint data per tonne and per fibre type are from WRAP.

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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