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Dry cleaning industry teams up with fashion designers
Sep '08
As the garment industry leans toward environmental sensitivity, they are pleasantly surprised to find that earth-friendly is also more fabric-friendly.

Fashion leaders are discovering that traditional harsh detergents and dry cleaning techniques may wreak as much havoc on fabric as they do on the environment.

Yet, in Lodi, New Jersey the home of New York City's only truly green dry cleaning plant, Green Apple Cleaners claims that it's the customers they care most about.

"We founded the company to provide a safe and healthy way to clean clothes that doesn't pose a health risk to the people who wear them," says David Kistner, Founder and CEO of Green Apple Cleaners.

Dry cleaning industry teams up with fashion designers:
However they look at it, Green Apple Cleaners is happy that non-toxic cleaning has caught the eye of the world's top clothing manufacturers.

Last month, they co-hosted a workshop with America's Best Cleaners especially for the Brooks Brothers technical design team on the benefits of CO2 dry cleaning and H20 "wet" cleaning as it pertains to the care of Brooks Brothers garments after the sale.

The team brought various garments to test in the Green Apple Cleaners systems, including its new Solvair machines. Among them, a leather jacket with horn toggles, a leather line knit sweater, and various other garments from the upcoming line.

"Brooks Brothers is world-famous for meticulous attention to detail, from the company's environmental impact, to the threads they choose, to the life of the garment when it leaves the store," says Christopher White of America's Best Cleaners (ABC) who organized the event.

"When the design teams create new product, they need to know how it will respond to all cleaning techniques." Through workshops, America's Best Cleaners helps manufacturers take into consideration where the dry cleaning business is going before they develop a new line.

America's Best Cleaners sets new standards of excellence:
ABC has a rigorous certification process and only a few make the cut. Green Apple Cleaners qualified last year.

"Environmental stewardship is just one of the many criteria that qualifies a dry cleaner to be recommended by America's Best Cleaners," says Christopher White, ABC's Director of Business Development. "We first look at quality of cleaning and finishing, customer service, and delivery systems among other factors."

To maintain ABC accreditation, Green Apple Cleaners must send a fabric swatch from their cleaning plant in New Jersey each month to The Hohenstein Institutes, an independent testing lab in Germany.

The swatch is tested for residue, luster and quality. After all, a top priority of dry cleaning is to get the clothes clean while protecting the integrity of the garment.

With so many fibers, trims, and techniques used including rayon, cotton, silk, blends, Velcro, leather, linen, wool, alpaca, braiding, beading, embroidery, lace, felt and new threads like bamboo and hemp it's a challenge. Then, there are the seemingly infinite numbers of dyes and fabric applications to consider.

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