As the season changes, it’s time to get out the cold weather gear.
I don’t know about you, but I have a pile of coats and jackets that need their annual trip to the cleaners. If you live in Taos, that, until now, has been a bit of a problem.
A couple of years ago, my daughter Genevieve found herself in the same predicament. A velvet dress she owns needed cleaning. She knew no one in Taos had the expertise to clean the garment so she asked her sister, my daughter Angelica, where she took her clothes.
“To Santa Fe.” Was the response.
“I started asking other people,” she recalls, “and they all said the same thing.”
It was a lightbulb moment for Genevieve, who co-founded Shree Yoga Taos with Suki Dalury a decade ago, and in doing so, discovered an entrepreneurial streak she wasn’t aware of prior.
As luck would have it, she learned the cleaners who were housed in the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building were going out of business.
For 16 months, she and her husband, Nathan Oswald, have been quietly working away on bringing the building up to code and investing time, energy and money into cleaning, restoring and reinventing the way dry cleaning has been done in Taos.
“I couldn’t do this unless it was ethical and sustainable,” Genevieve says, as she talks about her decision to open an eco-friendly cleaners. With zero experience in the industry, she spent time researching and even took a two-week course on dry cleaning in NYC., while Nathan continued to work on the building, preparing it for the new machinery they planned to purchase. And of course practice makes perfect, and practice they did. On all of our (their family’s) clothes!
They have hired a couple of part-time employees to work with them and will offer services including wash and fold, dry cleaning, pressing and mending. Eventually Genevieve hopes to include alterations on her list of available services, but for now she says she’ll stick to the basics.
“Hems, buttons, holes.” She smiles.
After 10 years of owning her own business, although a little nervous about opening another, she’s confident that she can manage and run the cleaners quite efficiently. She’s also confident in her husband’s ability to care for the state of the art equipment they’ve invested in. Their combined expertise is the foundation of this endeavor.
“I’ve had lots of experience in business and customer service, “ she reminds me, “and I had a great mentor.” Tears well in her eyes.
“You know one of the last things Patrick,” (Larkin, whom she worked for at the World Cup Cafe for a decade), asked me, was “When are you opening?” I was totally unsettled by that and went home and asked Oz (Nathan’s nickname), if he thought it was a bit pushy,” She laughs through her tears. “But he responded that he thought it a perfectly valid question.”
Now, they are ready to open, and their timing could not be better!
The Amazon rainforest is burning, a teenager sails across the Atlantic to attend UN climate summits, and we’ve been warned that our ability to sustain the inevitable effects of the climate crisis is gravely insufficient.
On the first day of London Fashion Week SS20 and outside the event’s main show space on The Strand, Extinction Rebellion protestors lay covered in fake blood, staging a die-in.
After the Swedish Fashion Council’s decision to cancel Stockholm Fashion Week, Extinction Rebellion wrote a letter to the British Fashion Council, asking for London Fashion Week to be cancelled too.
“We have a unique opportunity to consider how fashion can be reborn as a cultural medium with a regenerative effect on the people, planet, animals and generations to come.”
The reply from BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush invited the group to meet and discuss plans for internal change, but with no alterations made to the LFW schedule, the group decided to take action by taking their cause to the streets.
Extinction Rebellion are part of a much larger, growing movement; Fashion Revolution is a global call for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.
They call for a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way, and actions like fashion week die-ins, might seem extreme, but are absolutely crucial now
With this awareness, more and more people are relearning the art of “make do and mend,” tailoring and recycling old clothes, preventing moth and insect damage and darning are all being resurrected as the wasteful throwaway nature of fast fashion is being reevaluated. People are starting to take better care of the clothes they already own, and that starts with keeping them clean!
Moths feast on stains and dirt. They are not as fond of clean textiles it appears, so if you want that cashmere to last the lifetime it promises, keep it clean, and especially before you store it away during the warmer months.
Wool and down outerwear also needs a seasonal sprucing up and now you can rest assured they’ll be returned to you in mint condition; spotless, pressed and cleaned but without the toxicity.
Along with the services they provide, Clean will also carry a few retail items and did I already tell you how great it looks in there, with the shiny new machines and sweet decorative touches, including Zoe Zimmerman’s fabulous photographs hanging on the walls?
It’s really bright and light, with no chemical smells lingering, and it’s also very clean!
My coats and jackets are ready to go as soon as I see that open sign in Clean Taos’ window!
Clean Taos is located at 206 Paseo del Pueblo Sur and a little bird tells me they open tomorrow. When they get their site up, I’ll add the link below.
For more on the Fashion Revolution, please see their site linked below.
All images taken on my iphone