Over the past few years, awareness has grown significantly around the cost to our environment of ‘fast fashion’ clothes bought to wear a single or handful of times only. The messaging around global warming, carbon emissions and disposal of used goods has reached some but not all; there are some surprising statistics in relation to the mindset of some of the younger generation, seeing for example an item as old if worn two or three times.

In past times, thrift was the solution, clothes were darned and repaired wherever possible to ensure longevity, in these times of consumerism it would maybe do us some good to reflect how we can help to turn the tide on a global problem that ultimately effects everyone.

To give an indication of some of the alarming statistics out there:

  • UK clothing sales are likely to have reached £61 billion in 2022 – We also export circa £8 billion to other countries
  • The UK buys more clothes than any other European Country – Circa 280,000 tonnes of used clothes are disposed of each year, ending up in landfill or incinerators
  • The global fast fashion market is expected to reach new highs of £29 billion
  • Globally around 1% of clothing is recycled into new clothing

There are a growing number of sustainable fashion brands that are surfacing in the industry, but is the answer not staring us in the face? Buying better quality clothes and using the adage ‘Make do and Mend’ is one option, another option is to seek out recycled bargains from the plethora of charity shops that are dotted on high streets and within villages up and down the country.

Charity retail has changed in the last decade and has become savvier in recognising the opportunity to raise funds by promoting sustainable fashion available in their shops and online stores. There are speciality clothing shops that sell bridal wear and designer items at a snippet of the original cost but in immaculate condition. For the experienced charity retail shopper, there are infinite opportunities to look good and save the environment.

Whatever the cause of individual charities, to help those in need and to help save the planet at the same time doesn’t sound like a bad day of retail therapy.

Share This