As we begin to spend far more time in our homes than we ever have in recent times, finding joy in the mundane household tasks that have been piling up over the months can be a bit of a godsend. Which would make this the perfect time to introduce you to Attirecare.
This Manchester-based eco-friendly garment, shoe and home care collection brand have been on my radar for a while now, ever since I discovered their beautifully packaged products on the shelves of my favourite Northern Quarter retailer, Form Lifestyle Store.
Their handmade products are designed to prolong the life of your garments, shoes and home textiles, helping to promote less waste and discourage the throwing away of perfectly good products that could have been used for many years to come, had they been properly taken care of. They use organic ingredients and no harsh chemicals to create all of their formulas, ensuring they are environmentally friendly, ethically made, biodegradable and do exactly what they say on the label. They are the perfect accompaniment to the current popularity for slow fashion – a ‘trend’ which should more and more become the social norm, rather than a mere passing fad. I mean, if the current climate teaches us anything, it should be that slow living is for life, not just for lockdown.
As someone with an aversion to ironing, it was their Crease Release that first drew me into the brand; a clever spray-on solution that leaves clothing crease-free, with the lightest smell of classic fresh cotton fragrance. Consistent ironing actually causes cotton fibres to become weak and start to break over time, so giving clothing and linen bedding a break by using this invisible spray-on formula to release creases instead will actually help prolong the life of your garments and linens, whilst also saving you time and energy – win win!
Once I’d discovered Crease Release there was no turning back, and I’ve since cultivated a small collection of Attirecare’s other household care products, including The Protector spray for proofing my footwear and protecting it from the elements, the life-saving Red Wine Stain Remover which does exactly what it says on the tin, and their cedarwood, sandalwood, lavender & pine scented Delicate Wash for my cashmere and silk garments.
My favourite product though has to be their Denim Set, which I use to keep my everyday uniform of straight-legged jeans freshly laundered. Did you know that denim isn’t meant to be washed regularly, if at all? Denim fibres easily break down if you wash them too frequently, or at too high a temperature, meaning they start to sag and are far more prone to developing friction holes that limit the lifespan of your jeans.
Whilst a lot of denim manufacturers advocate for not washing denim at all, that would be mighty impractical I think, but using Attirecare’s Denim Spray in between washes certainly helps me to reduce the number of times I throw mine in the machine (inside out, always inside out). The unique formula of this spray removes any nasty smells and bacteria without eating into the cotton fibres, and has been specially formulated with Ylang Ylang, Birch & Orange Blossom essential oils to give a gently fragrant boost to the fabric. I certainly find it gives my denim a refresh, and I can get a good few additional wears out of the pair before actually needing to wash them. When it comes to washing, I use Attirecare’s concentrated Denim Wash, which contains powerful natural ingredients and essential botanicals such as Birch, which is known for its bacteriostatic and soothing properties, and ensures bacteria is removed from the cotton fibres. I always wash my denim on my machine’s delicate cycle at 30ºc, and then leave them to air dry naturally.
With the extra spare time I have during lockdown, I thought it would be prudent to tackle a few of the ‘mundane’ household tasks I keep on putting off, like giving all my shoes a good clean and a shine, and hand washing all those delicate items left languishing at the bottom of the laundry basket. A good Spring Clean of the whole flat is also definitely in order, and I’ve got my eyes on a few of Attirecare’s other household sprays, which kill bacteria naturally, to help get the job done.
Seeing how I figured a few of you may also have the same household tasks in mind, I thought now would be a good time to get in touch with Attirecare’s co-founder, Seb Collinge, and get to know him and the brand a little better. And if you are inspired to purchase a few products from the brand, it’s worth noting that they are currently offering free UK shipping, and a free 250ml Clean Home Surface Spray with all orders, subject to availability.
Let’s meet… Seb Collinge, co-founder of Attirecare
How long have you been living in Manchester and whereabouts are you based?
We have been living in Manchester since 2014 when we started our fashion degrees at MMU, which is actually where Abi (my now business partner) and I met! We now have a flat in Cutting Room Square in Ancoats which we love, and our office is in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter. Our factory, where we produce all of the products, is in North Wales.
What drew you to the city initially?
I grew up in North Wales and Manchester has always been a hub for me to escape to, I’ve always loved the city and knew it was the only place I wanted to live once I finished school!
How did the idea for Attirecare come about – have you always been passionate about your garment and shoe care?
The idea for Attirecare was born when we lived in Amsterdam for a while, whilst working for Calvin Klein on their Denim wash Design team as part of my degree. This was where the real development and inspiration for the brand started. We lived in De Pijp and would spend hours walking around our neighbourhood and places like de 9 Straatjes, and whilst there was so much inspiration to soak up, we noticed there was something missing when it came to beautifully looking, smelling and packaged care products.
The market seemed to be overwhelmed with cosmetics and perfumery brands, which we have of course gained so much inspiration from, but the dream was always, and still is, to provide consumers the same feelings and emotions these brands give, only for garments, shoes, their homes etc.
You place a strong emphasis on organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable formulations – how did this ethos develop, and what policies have you instigated within the company to support these?
Yes, wherever possible we only use the best ingredients we can, and ensure all our processes are as sustainable as possible. We don’t have a long or far supply chain either which is super important to us. As we grow our responsibilities do also, and this is something we accept and take on. We’re not even close to where we want to be yet, but we are constantly improving and that is what’s important to us. For example, we have recently removed 95% of plastic bottles from our range and now only use glass.
You’ve collaborated with a few like-minded brands recently – how have these partnerships been developed and do you have any more in the pipeline?
Yeah, we’ve been lucky to work with some really cool people already and a lot of pioneers in their own fields! Yes.. we do actually but nothing I am allowed to mention unfortunately, maybe next time!
What kind of impact is the current Coronavirus situation having upon your business, what kind of adjustments/pivots have you had to make/are you planning?
The current situation has hit us quite hard as I can imagine it has for many other small businesses. Luckily for us, we have always believed in our products and what they can do for you. So our online sales have almost tripled in the last few weeks with products like our garment spray, surface spray and upholstery spray doing particularly well, as they have all been developed with the end purpose in mind, to kill bacteria (naturally) and many other useful features. So of course these products are particularly relevant right now. They also smell great.
It has really given us a lot of time to think about us as a company and who we are, what is important to us and how want to be perceived when this is all over, which in some ways has been quite nice because usually the day to day grind gets in the way of stepping back and really looking at your model. So far we’re coping well – but we’re definitely excited to see our friends and stockists again as soon as we can!
What are your ambitions for the brand long-term?
Our ambition is to move all of our production to Manchester and have everything under one big roof. We’d also love to open a physical retail space eventually: a one-stop-shop for all your care needs. And of course, grow into a household name, continue to break barriers in our field and collaborate across industries.
Manchester now; where is the best place for a morning cuppa?
We love TAKK on Tariff Street, the staff are great and the coffee is our favourite!
Favourite place for a design-fix in the city?
We tend to gather our design inspiration online from all over the world, but we can definitely see the Manchester design scene is on it’s way up! Cultureplex has done an amazing job with their interior and we really like the vibe they’ve brought to the city.
What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend in and around Manchester?
We like to walk the canals, go to Matt & Phred’s to listen to live music, and always end up having a few drinks in The Jane Eyre as it’s our local! We also like to drive to the Peaks for a good walk through the hills when the sun’s out!
All photography © attirecare, used with permission