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July 5, 2022

Money-saving and greenliness fuels clothing repair trend

Cost of living pressure is prompting more people to repair their own clothes according to new research from Primark’s Ireland arm, Penneys.

By Hannah Abdulla

Penneys Ireland conducted research which revealed Gen Z is repairing clothing more than any other age group, with 77% mending their clothes in the last 18 months. This compares to just over a third (36%) of 25-34-year-olds and 45% of 35-44 year olds.

The research from Penneys examines attitudes and opinions towards repairing and reusing clothing, and shows a rise in more conscious consumerism across Ireland, largely motivated by saving money and an increase in more sustainable behaviour, particularly among younger age groups.

Notably, 62% of those surveyed that repaired clothing, said they did it as it saves money. This increased to 95% among Gen Z shoppers.

While 71% of Gen Z shoppers said they repaired clothing as they wanted to act more environmentally conscious and 66% said it was to learn a new skill.

The research also indicated that more needs to be done to raise awareness around looking after your clothes to make them last longer. Among those who don’t repair clothes, 31% say they don’t have the skills needed and 69% are more likely to repair an item of clothing if it’s expensive – increasing to 89% among Gen Z. A further 24% of all those surveyed stated that the cost of alterations at a repair service is too much and ultimately a driving factor when deciding whether to repair a piece of clothing or not.

Of those who don’t currently repair their clothes, there is still an appetite to brush up on repair skills with more than half (59%) say they would like to learn. Over a quarter (27%) admitted they would throw away a damaged item rather than repair it – rising to 40% among 18-24 year old’s – indicating that there is a way to go towards educating consumers on how best to prolong the lifespan of a garment.

Lynne Walker, director of Primark Cares at Primark, said: “Our customers have told us that they want to hang on to much loved clothes for longer and are interested in learning new skills to repair their clothes. It’s really encouraging to see this reflected in our research among consumers in Ireland today, particularly among Gen Z.

“We’ve set ourselves a goal to strengthen the durability of our clothes in the next three years, as part of our commitment to become a more circular business. Educating customers on repair is one small step in our journey, but it’s a step forward in how we can use our stores and build educational content on our channels to help everyone be in on change.”

Recently, under new rules proposed by the EU Commission, clothing sold in Europe must be longer-lasting, easier to repair and its journey to point of sale traceable.

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