Updated: Jun 15
Want a wardrobe Carrie Bradshaw herself would envy? There's a new breed of high-tech closet on the market - one which not only stores, but dry cleans clothing. The compact wardrobes claim to refresh and revitalise your garments, effectively removing the need for washing or constant trips to the dry cleaners.
Currently, there are two major players battling it out in this new war of the high-tech wardrobes; the Samsung AirDresser and the LG Styler.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Samsung claims its device - which launched at the end of January this year - not only prolongs the period between washes, but also puts less stress on fabrics, ensuring that clothes last for longer. Featuring a bespoke 'Jet Air' system and three 'Air Hangers', it freshens clothes by using powerful blasts of air to loosen and remove dust and odours embedded within the fabric.
Engineers at Samsung have promised, "it's so quiet, even a baby can sleep through the whole process".
"The wardrobe is an important focus for Samsung as we felt that the AirDresser could fulfil a real need in the home," says Dan Darvie, vice president of Samsung UK. "Particularly in light of people’s changing shopping habits and the growing demand to care for clothes and increase their longevity."
But, it was actually the LG Styler Steam Clothing Care System which came to the market first, with the initial iteration launching back in 2015. Retailing at £1,899, it promises to keep your trouser creases looking crisp while reducing general wrinkling. With the Gentle Dry cycle you can quickly dry delicates, including silk and cashmere, with no fear of shrinking or damage, it claims. You can even download tailor-made courses for special fabrics.
Other outstanding features from the LG styler are its refreshing and drying functions - making it ideal for outdoor outfits, rain coats and down jackets - as well as its ability to remove unpleasant smells from outfits (you can use an 'Aroma sheet' inside the Styler for this purpose). The gadget also promises to reduce bacteria and ticks from beddings.
"We believe that in the future, steam closet-care systems like the LG Styler will become known as a household essential with their huge range of benefits, applications, and time and money saving capabilities," says Shean Smith, UK sales director of home appliances at LG UK. "We hope that the launch of the Styler in the UK helps make our customers aware that there is more to wardrobe management than washing with water and dry cleaning."
WHO HAS ONE?
Both the LG Styler and the Samsung Airdresser have already gained a wealth of high-profile fans, thanks to the electronics companies gifting several of the high-tech wardrobes to celebrities and influencers and embarking on savvy paid-for marketing schemes.
Presenter and stylist Louise Roe, who is being paid to promote the LG Styler, has been demonstrating hers on Instagram, praising it for being "quiet and energy-conscious" and for making all her "favourite things last longer". She's also using it to clean her daughter’s cuddly toys.
Influencer Ruth Crilly fromA Model Recommends,who is being paid to extoll the virtues of Samsung's Airdresser, said, “I wear a lot of delicate fabrics that can’t be machine-washed and dried on a regular basis - or at all - and so being able to give them a freshen-up at the touch of a button has been brilliant."
Influencer Willabelle Ong has said of hers, "I’ve been using the LG Styler almost daily (it’s my wardrobe’s best kept secret), as it helps to refresh, sanitize and smoothen out wrinkles on clothing in just 20min on its shortest Refresh mode."
Korean tech brand Coway also offers a product to give LG and Samsung a run for their money; the Coway Four Seasons Clothing Purifier. This claims to reduce of the lives of dust mites, fungi, mould and other bacteria to keep clothes fresh, using a similar four-step air cleaning system.
If you don’t mind doing the grunt work yourself thenMiele offers the FashionMaster - a £1,449 steam ironing system. This alternative includes an ironing board, iron, handheld steamer, and shared water reservoir. According to reviewed.com, it irons and steams just as well as the dry cleaners, but it isn’t the press-of-a-button solution promised by LG, Samsung and Coway.
Other brands have tried to enter the high-tech wardrobe market and failed. Whirlpool's Swash promised to improve the look, feel and smell of lived-in apparel in 10 to 15 minutes, but was eventually discontinued following lack of interest from consumers, and complaints that it didn't work on delicate fabrics such as silks. The model was markedly less expensive than its counterparts at £325, and also only handled one garment item at a time, making it slightly less convenient than other models - but was much smaller and didn't require water, plumbing, pipes or professional installation assistance.
IS IT WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
There is no denying the benefits of prolonging the lifespan of your cherished items or reducing the time in-between washing or dry cleaning (or, in many cases, removing the need for this entirely), making these new high-tech wardrobes seem a worthwhile investment. In addition, many traditional dry-cleaners use chemicals which are harmful to the environment. According to the International Fabricare Institute "about 70% of all dry cleaners use perchloroethylene, a known toxic air pollutant, as the cleaning solvent".
So, if you have the space, the funds, and are feeling green, a high-tech wardrobe might be just what your clothes need.