Puretergent is founder Julia Fry’s love letter to fabric. A confessed “self soother” with soft comfy things, Julia’s happy place has always been the sensuality of textiles. A gawky teenager who sewed her own clothes, Julia parlayed her early love of fabrics into a successful 20-year career in fashion design. Throughout, her fascination with laundry grew.
Designers think about laundry every day as they spec care instructions so their collections don’t self-destruct in the wash. Julia refused to believe that laundry was hard—how come all the beautiful vintage textiles at FIT’s museum had lasted centuries and today’s fabrics are ruined in the course of a few years? It was clearly modern chemicals, not the textiles themselves. Julia began trying to create cleaning solutions from the textile’s point of view, rather than a chemist’s. She saw how fabrics were more like skin and hair than porcelain and stainless steel. “You shouldn’t scrub textiles with hard abrasive chemicals,” she says. “You’ll get the stain out … but you’ll also kill the patient. If you want happy, healthy fabrics, you have to treat them with kindly, like you would your own skin.”
In 1999, Julia pioneered green industrial laundry solutions for hotels and commercial laundries, proving that green solutions worked better than traditional detergents because they didn’t yellow and weaken fibers with over-chlorination or turn grey from overuse of harsh chemicals. As a result, the hotel’s linen supplies lasted three to four times as long.
Puretergent is her love child. This time around, she wants to address green packaging—the “friendly pouch,” which is the first of its kind on-shelf in laundry, uses eight times less plastic and nine times less emissions to manufacture than a rigid plastic bottle. And the formulas inside are healthy and restorative.
Happy clothes love you back.