Fickle fashion is killing off sustainable clothing, a new report has found, with consumers admitting to buying items they never wear and throwing away garments rather than recycling them.
Data from the Fashion Retail Academy in London suggests 83% of consumers buy items they never wear, while nearly one quarter (22.5%) say they have bought more then ten items they have never worn.
The research also reveals that more than one in ten (11%) people don’t wear half the clothes in their wardrobe; highlighting the growing issue of mass wastage in the fashion industry.
Almost two-thirds (61%) of shoppers have no interest in quality long-lasting clothing, with over one quarter preferring cheaper clothes that only last one season, according to the data.
Consumers are also shying away from second-hand clothes, with over a third refusing to buy them, while 12% of consumers are actually throwing away their clothes rather than recycling them. However, 60% of those consumers who throw away their clothes say they would buy second hand clothes themselves.
Women seem to be more open to wearing second hand clothes than men and 16% more women recycle their clothes than men.
Despite Generation Z claiming they support sustainability, few are willing to spend more money to make it happen, the study found. The data shows that 78% of 18-22 year olds and more than 71% of all consumers, like the idea of wearing sustainable clothing – but a third (33%) say they would not pay more than GBP5 (US$6.40) extra for a sustainable item.
“Fashion waste is on a whole new level and it’s down to the consumer to do something about this,” says Lee Lucas, principal and CEO of the Fashion Retail Academy. “With this new tech generation there are now so many more ways to recycle clothes, not just through charity shops but through Ebay, Depop and other second hand selling apps.
“Recycling clothes is not only good for the consumer who can purchase clothes more affordably but also massively reduces the environmental impact of our clothes and lessens our personal fashion footprint.”