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August 1, 2022

Circular fashion demand seeing ‘dramatic’ growth

The number of sustainable and second-hand fashion small businesses has increased by 23% in the UK in the last year as demand for circular fashion grows, new data shows.

By Michelle Russell

There has been a surge in the number of people looking to switch to eco-friendly shopping styles, coupled with a growth in small sustainable fashion businesses.

According to small business insurance provider Simply Business, the number of people searching for sustainable fashion terms compared to last year’s period increased dramatically. Searches for ‘circular fashion’ increased by 100%, ‘second-hand clothing’ increased by a half (50%) and searches for ‘vintage fashion’ went up by almost a quarter (22%).

Analysis from Simply Business of over 1,600 policies taken out over the past year also shows that the number of sustainable and vintage fashion small businesses has increased 23% in the past 12 months, as the UK’s small businesses lead the way in providing ethical clothing.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “It’s also promising to see in our data that there has been a 23% rise in independent fashion SMEs in the past 12 months.

“Small businesses are vital to the UK economy. They’re the lifeblood of our local communities and collectively contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover. The uptick in sustainable fashion businesses is demonstrative of the growth and innovation that the UK’s SME community is capable of, and it’s never been more important for us to champion them.”

Love Island 2022 has also helped, according to the insurer. It kicked off on 6 June and, within a week, the number of people searching for sustainable fashion terms compared to last year’s period increased dramatically (614%).

A recent report in the US issued by online resale platform Thredup showed secondhand is becoming a “global phenomenon” led by North America, with the US secondhand market estimated to more than double by 2026, reaching US$82bn.

In 2021, the secondhand market saw record growth in 2021 at 32%. 

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