Kate Jones is an intrepid entrepreneur who is passionate about sustainable fashion. She travels extensively searching for stylish and scalable crafts to bring to market and organises thought-provoking seminars in China, with her consultancy At Liberty. All the while, she maintains an impeccably conscious, and clean, wardrobe that is the envy of many busy, travelling women.
What made you become more interested in sustainable fashion?
It just makes sense and honestly it's the only way forward. When I travel and I'm walking along a gorgeous beach avoiding trash, including old clothes, that have washed ashore - it really makes me wonder what the hell are we doing! We have no choice but be interested in sustainable options and to address our purchasing habits. Buy less and with thought.
You travel a lot - what’s your secret to fashion on the run?
I travel with a capsule wardrobe of high quality, classic and comfortable pieces that I can style together over and over. I rarely check my luggage in when I fly, so every inch of space is filled with items that I love. This really makes life much simpler - the last thing I want to is wake up on the road worrying what to wear.
How do you keep your clothes so clean?
I’m an avid spot cleaner, partly because it’s more sustainable, faster and easier for me – both at home and on the road - and because I'm a pretty messy person! I got sick of not being able to wear all the clothes in my capsule because of stains, so I got into spot cleaning and have never looked back!
How to spot clean your clothes
1. Create a stain busting paste by mixing 1 part bicarbonate of soda (aka. baking powder) with 3 parts water to form a toothpaste-like consistency.
2. Using a brush (a soft toothbrush will do), apply the paste onto the stain and gently scrub the area. Then leave for 20-30 minutes for the magic to happen.
3. Place the garment into an empty bucket and, from a height, pour hot water over it (but not hotter than your fibers can handle).
4. Leave the garment - or just the stained area if it's an isolated stain - to soak for around 30 minutes in an appropriate temperature water, like 30 degrees.
5. Hand wash and rinse the garment or just the stained area as normal. Or for non-delicates, use the appropriate machine setting.
Does this mean you’ve never used a dry cleaner?
Not 100% - but 98%. I only dry clean coats and detailed items once a year at the end of the season before they go into storage. It's important to clean pieces before storing them - hidden stain makers like perfume settle in while they're stored and it's nearly impossible to get them out. I find that many people dry clean items that really just a professionally press; so for my pleated items, I usually give them a light hand wash and then send them off to be pressed by a pro.
What fashion changes have you made to become more sustainable?
It really starts when I'm purchasing. I'm more considerate about what I buy and why. I need to know I'll wear a piece regularly and that it's comfortable, will wash well and that I'm not buying for purely emotional reasons. Then my focus shifts to care. Once I've invested in a piece I make sure I care for it well so it lasts and has a low impact on the environment. There’s no point in buying an eco-conscious garment and then over-washing it and not taking good care of it.
What suggestions do you have for how people to take steps towards a more sustainable way of life?
I'm taking steps to live a more minimalist lifestyle. I recommend listening to The Minimalist's podcast and also checking out their documentary on Netflix. Ryan Nicodemus is mentoring me on how to bring a minimalist philosophy to all parts of my life. It's a process, but a very satisfying one. Above all, everything I have needs to bring a smile to my face.