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ASTO was founded over brunch - when a group of young designers gathered in a Covent Garden terrace to discuss opportunities in their home countries - rather, the scarcity of it! This simple discussion led to the birth of ASTO, and what it is known for now - a platform for independent, rising designers to share their innovations, audiences and inspirations. In May 2014, ASTO officially soft-launched on a by-invite only basis, but eventually opened its doors to the public by late September. Now it boasts over 20 local and international designers offering both classic and badass collections with global roots. By carefully selecting the designers we have in-store, we mean to steadily yet surely reduce our environmental impact. We at ASTO select designers not only by their style, but more importantly, by their advocacies, production practices and material usage. While it is our goal to push independent, home-grown talents to higher heights, we have made it our personal mission to inspire each other to look for sustainable ways to be fashionable. Now you may wonder how we are able to sell at such affordable rates. Well, it is not because we compromise on quality. Far from it. By selling online and directly to you, we are eliminating middlemen. This is because we at ASTO believe that even well-made and curated pieces should be accessible, and have made it a point to never put up ridiculous, inflated prices. So that you, our lovely viewers, may come visit us as often as you wish. After all, we are always open!
After learning terrible stats about the problems with fashion, finally, here is some really good news. Up to two-thirds of a garment's carbon footprint occurs after you take it home. That's incredible because most of all that nasty stuff is in your hands to fix. The extra good news is that it's not even hard stuff to do. Here are some easy ways make a difference.
Feeling lazy? Only wash as needed. You will save water, detergent and your clothes will last way longer. Is it only dirty in one teeny place? Then get a good all natural spot cleaner. For denim, consider bagging and putting it in the freezer for a day or two; this will kill bacteria and odors, keep your jeans in better shape and is also super cool in Japan.
When you do the wash, set your washer to "cold" to save energy and help your clothes last longer. Switching from hot water to cold or warm can prevent 500 pounds of CO2 every year from entering the atmosphere. That's the same energy as 30 minute blow dry twice a week for a year. Pass the round brush.When you can, skip the dryer. Line drying your clothes for just six months out of the year can eliminate up to 700 pounds of greenhouse gases annually. That's the same energy as driving a Prius 1,800 miles which is a super long road trip. Also hanging your clothes to dry looks super chic and Italian.
The primary chemical solvent used in dry-cleaning, Perchloroethylene (or perc), is a toxic chemical capable of causing liver damage and respiratory failure. It can also lead to groundwater contamination and air pollution. Some professional cleaners now offer green dry cleaning and use water as the primary solvent. This type of cleaning can substantially reduce toxicity and CO2 emissions associated with garment care. Most garments typically dry-cleaned - including silks, wools, linens, suede, and leathers - can also be cleaned in this method. Even if your cleaners advertises as "green" or "organic," be sure to ask if they use perc, hydrocarbons, or D-5 cleaners, and be sure to avoid the toxic stuff. Just say no to Perc.
This one is just so easy. Data in 2014 reports that we throw away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. That's like a 10 year old kid worth of stuff for every person every year. Americans also donate or recycle less than 15% of clothing and shoes, though nearly all of it could be recycled or reused. There are donation centers pretty much everywhere.