Equa Blog - News, Views and Ethical Styling...

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Caring for your Clothing - Hand washing

Hand washing clothes may seem like a time consuming, unnecessary process but it can help maintain the quality of your delicate clothes, including lingerie and knitwear. It is handy when you have only a few items you need clean that wouldn't be enough to fill the machine.

Here is Equa's guide to washing by hand......
  • Plug the sink and add 1/4 cup of delicate washing detergent. Ideally use an eco detergent specifically for delicate hand washing.
  • Fill the sink with the correct water temperature listed on the clothing labels, remembering to leave room for the clothing!
  • Turn all the garments inside out to avoid fasteners catching on the fabric
  • If you have garments of various colours to wash, start with the lightest in case there is any colour run from the darker items.
  • Get the clothing wet and soapy. If you are washing one item, allow it to soak for 5 mins, if you're washing more, leave for 15-20mins
  • Remove marks and stains by rubbing the fabric together. Be careful not to be too vigorous with delicate fabrics. You can also use a spot cleaner for tough stains.
  • Knead the items like you would bread dough, squeeze each item to circulated the water through the fabric, repeating several times.
  • Remove clothing from sink, squeezing out some of the excess water.
  • Empty the sink and refill with clean water at the same temperature. Rinse clothing thoroughly.
  • Repeat this process until the water remains clear, making certain all the soap has been removed. 
  • Squeeze delicate items, being careful not to wring/twist knitwear as it may distort the shape.
  • For knitwear you can roll items in a towel ans press to remove excess moisture.
  • Hang or lay flat to air dry. 
We hope this helps....happy washing!

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Season Sneak Preview

Although we're still in the full flow of summer, with the hope of a long indian summer to come, here at Equa we can't help looking forward to the idea of wrapping up in layers and pulling on a lovely pair of boots. So here's a little preview of things to come for Autumn/Winter 2010 .....

Alaia Top by Komodo

Drape Cardigan by Bailey

Nancy Dress by People Tree

Kiren Stripe Knit by Komodo

We just can't wait for the new deliveries to arrive.......!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

August Picnic Window Display

We based our August window display around a balmy summer picnic complete with cup cakes and friendly insects!

The outfits featured, from left to right:

Clown Dress by Annie Greenabelle

Oona Pocket Tunic by Stewart+Brown
Bow Clutch by Julia Smith

Inky Black Organic Jeans by Monkee Genes

Monday, 16 August 2010

Designer Interview - Outsider

This month we'd like to welcome Noorin Khamisani, designer of chic ethical label Outsider, to the hot seat!

Outsider creates elegant garments with a timeless feel. These are clothes to wear and love season after season. From our experience in the Equa boutique they also look beautiful on a wide range of ages, shapes and sizes.

Image: Outsider,  Autumn Winter 2010

In a nutshell what was your initial motivation for becoming involved in ethical fashion?

After working for both small designers and larger brands - I became inspired to try to make clothes in a better way. I couldn't find things to buy that I liked and that were ethically produced and in my price range - so I started to try to solve my own wardrobe problem really.

What does ethical fashion mean to you?

Garments which are made from sustainable fabrics, by grown ups, styles which are versatile and flattering whatever your age or shape, and that will last more then one season. I try to think about the ethical approach in as many ways as possible.

What challenges do you face as an ethical designer?

All small labels face similar challenges but when trying to work ethically it can take longer to be understood bythe people you need to work with. I spend a lot of time sourcing fabrics because of the research it takes to ensure they are as sustainable as possible while still achieveing the look and feel I require. This is becoming less and less of a problem but some people still assume that as an ethical designer you must be making nothing but organic t-shirts with slogans on them - so it is a challenge to show that ethical fashion can just look like fashion. But challenges are good - they push you to learn and explore and that definitely helps you grow as a designer.

What are your inspirations for this season’s collection?

My collections are always a mish mash of everything I have seen/heard or thought about while designing so I always find it hard to pin down. I start with fabrics though and for Autumn/Winter 2010 I found the most gorgeous Merino wool and a colour grown cotton in a champagne coloured stripe. I was also inspired by timeless 1930s shapes.

What advice would you give anyone looking to make their wardrobe more ethical?

Start with a few key items from Ethical labels that you can wear a lot - tailored jacket, shirt dress, jersey tops - then you can see how they work with what you have and build up from there. Versatile items are essential to avoid those "I have nothing to wear" moments - for me a shirt dress always saves the day!
Image: Outsider, Autumn Winter 2010

Who are your Style Icons?

Oh this is predictable - Coco Chanel!

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe and where did it come from?

A printed cotton dressing gown from the Hilton Abu Dhabi, my father took it when he was there in the late seventies, I still wear it and love it - though technically it was stolen, first from the hotel and most recently from my mum!

As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?

I always wanted to make things / be creative.

Tell us something you are really excited about…

My new SS11 collection which I've just finished and starting research for my next collection.

What's next for your label?

I hope to continue to do what I do - creating new classics!

Image: Outsider Autumn Winter 2010
Thank you Noorin. We look forward to seeing what you do next.

To View the current Outsider collection at Equa click here >>

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Caring for your clothes- Laundry Care Symbols

If you have ever been mystified by the laundry care symbols in your clothes, here is Equa’s comprehensive guide to understanding what these symbols mean.

This symbol tells you that the item can be machine washed. It will also indicate the maximum temperature it can be washed at, usually indicated in degrees centigrade (°C) or with dots.

1 dot=30°C 2 dots=40°C 3 dots=50°C 4 dots=60°C 5 dots=70°C

At Equa we recommend washing your garments at 30°C.The majority of energy used in a washing machine comes from heating the water. By reducing the temperature you will be saving energy.

If you are concerned that your clothes will not be cleaned properly at a lower temperature, look for a cold water detergent. Washing at a lower temperature will also protect your clothing as hot water can shrink, damage the fabric and fade your clothes.

This means the item is too delicate for the washing machine and should be washed by hand. Some washing machines have a hand wash cycle that would be suitable.

This indicates that the item of clothing must not be washed in water, not even hand washed. This symbol would be accompanied by a dry cleaning symbol.

DRY CLEANThis is the standard dry cleaning symbol.There are many variations that your dry cleaner will understand.

Items with the delicate symbols should be washed separately on the delicate cycle, as shown by the line under the machine wash symbol. You can even put items such as lingerie in a pillow case so that the fastenings do not snag other items.

You may bleach these items with any type of laundry bleach. Do be careful to follow instructions as too much bleach can destroy your garments.

Do not use any type of bleach on these items, as it would damage them irreparably.

Do not use any bleach that contains chlorine. You can find ‘colour fast bleach’ which does not contain chlorine easily. This is also a better eco option that traditional bleach.

This symbol indicates the garment can be tumble dried. The dot in the centre indicates the maximum heat: 1 dot for low heat, 2 dots for medium and 3 for high.

This indicates the item cannot be dried in a tumble dry and needs to be air dried. Usually there is an accompanying symbol that tells you the best method to air dry.

HANG TO DRY: hang on a clothing line, drying rack or hanger to dry

DRY FLAT: shape and lay the item flat to dry, works best if placed on a folded towel.

DRIP DRY: do not shape or wring out too vigorously and allow to drip dry

DO NOT WRING: this item is delicate and will be misshapen if wrung out, allow to drip dry

DRY IN THE SHADE: do not dry in direct sunlight as it might fade the garment

This indicates that you can iron your garment. Once again if there is a dot this indicates the temperature setting. 1 dot for low setting, 2 for medium and 3 for high.

This garment cannot be ironed. It will either need to be pressed professionally or can simply be hung up as soon as it comes out of the washing machine allowing the creases to fall out as it dries.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Caring for your clothes - Eco clothes washing tips

It doesn’t much time, effort or money to wash your clothes more ecologically...here are Equa’s top tips:

Wash cold or at 30 °C: 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is used to heat the water

Wash only a full load: use the full capacity of your washing machine, small loads waste energy

Use a green detergent: avoid conventional laundry detergents which are usually made from petroleum. They are not biodegradable and contain countless chemicals that you wouldn’t ingest so why would you want them on your skin! Look for detergents that are biodegradable and made from plant-based ingredients

Use Eco-balls: these are refillable plastic spheres that contain pellets made from mineral salts. The pellets produce ionized oxygen which penetrates into your clothes during the washing cycle. There is no detergent to rinse out so you can use a shorter rinse cycle. The eco balls last up to about 1000 washes so they are cost effective and eco friendly (tip: if you like your clothes subtly fragranced after washing, try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil into the rinse tray of your machine)

Air dry your clothes: avoid using a tumble dryer if possible, it is better for your clothes and the environment

If you must use the dryer: use dryer balls which stop your clothes from sticking together and reduce drying time by about 25%

Next time...we will help decipher the care instruction symbols on your garment labels!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Fabric of The Week - Soya

Soybeans have been a crucial crop in Asia since history began, being a vital source of protein. It is now well know in the West in the form of tofu, miso, soy sauce...
 Using soy as a textile was initially conceived by Henry Ford in the 1940’s as an alternative to synthetic fibres such as Rayon and Nylon. It is only recently that the relative ecological benefits of soya textile have returned it to the fore.

Soya fibre is made from the hulls of the soya bean, this otherwise discarded by-product of the soya food industry is given new life as an eco-friendly textile.

The production process is natural and free of any petrochemicals, making it an environmentally friendly product. Soy is a completely renewable resource and is biodegradable.


Soya fibre dyes very well in a whole spectrum of colours, which isn’t the case with comparable fabrics such as silk. It is also sunlight resistant so will not fade if cared for properly. Conveniently soya fibre has outstanding anti crease, easy wash and fast drying properties.

The wonderful properties of Soya give both exceptional softness and the lustre of silk – perfect for chic ethical fashion. Knitted soya bean fibre has a very soft warm quality which is often compared to the feel of cashmere; it is even referred to as ‘vegetable cashmere’.

This soya jersey Beatrice Dress by Nancy Dee drapes beautifully.

For more gorgeous clothes made from sustainable fabrics click here

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Equa Staff Pick Of The Sale

The Equa sale is in full swing, but what are the staff's favourite bargains?

Thalia, Manager:

I got myself one of these earlier on in the season and I absolutely love it! It’s skinny enough to fit through the belt loops on jeans but I’ve also worn it knotted at the waist over dresses. It was worn this way when featured in The Observer Magazine’s LINE-UP (See our post in June). The tan leather gives it a rustic feel but the brass studding lends a harder edge.

Vivo Barefoot Union Plimsolls

We’ve had lots customers tell us that these are the most comfortable shoes they have ever owned. They are designed to be as close as possible to walking barefoot. This strengthens the muscles in your feet and helps to re-align your natural posture. The sole is ultra thin but puncture resistant. I’m very tempted to get a pair myself and see what the fuss is about!


 Marta, Sales Assistant:

Adorable dress that gives a different twist on the classic summer stripy look. Love the pink ruffle neck line which gives a hint of colour.

 Alchemist Linen Riding Jacket

A cute little jacket that looks cool with a pair of skinny jeans, a relaxed t-shirt and a pair of ballet pumps or heels for a smarter look. Love the shorter length at the back.

Christina, Sales Assistant:
                                                       Outsider Shirt Dress

Lovely airy shirt dress with subtle details that set it apart, lovely neck line and full skirt. This is a versatile dress that can be worn in the summer with sandals or in the winter with thick tights and boots.

Enamore Betty Bedrock Camisole

You can’t go wrong with a bit of leopard print, the blue background just makes it a bit softer. It is made of bamboo which makes it lovely and soft against the skin.

Ruth, Sales Assistant:

So pretty and made from organic cotton, this dress is great for the beach with flip flops, or I would add leggings and heels and party the night away!

This casual weekend tunic is lovely worn over Monkee Genes for shopping or the park. Add some Just Trade brass jewellery to meet friends for a summers evening BBQ.