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Britons wear only half of the fashion they buy - Thought survey

Published
today Sep 13, 2019
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With Britons buying more clothes than any consumers in Europe and the impact of fast fashion on the environment being a major topic at present, it's interesting to see a new piece of research that says UK consumers buy nearly 1,000 items of clothing in their lifetime that they end up not wearing.


Consumers buy much more than they can ever wear



And that means they’ll spend up to £36,000 on clothes that they don't wear, according to the study from sustainable clothing brand Thought. 

It commissioned a survey of 2,000 consumers and found that UK shoppers buy 28 items of clothing on average annually, with 12 of them never being worn. And as many as 36% of shoppers admit that they don't need the amount clothes they buy.

This is both good and bad news for the fashion industry’s bottom line as it pushes up sales, but it also means that there are likely to be more secondhand items circulating in the resale economy, and it also shines a further spotlight on any weak sustainability practices within the industry.

One side effect of all this over-buying is that UK shoppers buy around 1.5 billion garments annually and almost 60% of their clothing ends up in landfill or incinerators within just a few years of being acquired.

And given that large amounts of clothing are being bought unnecessarily, this adds a huge environmental impact in terms of materials use and issues such as water wastage.

The study also shows that 40% of the consumers surveyed own clothes that have never been worn and 17% “often” buy clothes to wear only once.
However, the study also showed their thinking is shifting in a more sustainable direction in their’ lives generally. Some 56% are using less plastic, 38% are walking or cycling instead of driving, 24% are eating less meat, and 16% are cutting the number of flights they take.

And on the fashion front? The survey showed that 27% say they're reducing the amount of fast fashion clothing they buy and 33% are actively avoiding buying anything that will only be worn once.

Additionally, 72% of consumers regularly donate items to charity  and 52% regularly repair items.

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