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Young consumers looking to ‘reuse, reduce and recycle’ fashion, says survey

Young consumers looking to ‘reuse, reduce and recycle’ fashion, says survey: Image 1 An increasing amount of young consumers are buying, selling, mending or swapping their clothes, according to a recent survey by Mintel.

Indeed, Mintel research shows that in the last year alone over half (52%) of those aged 25-34 bought second-hand clothes, compared to an average of 43%.

Young Brits are turning their old clothes into hard cash, with 50% of 25-34-year-olds selling unwanted clothes in the last year, compared to 35% of consumers as a whole. And in the spirit of 'make do and mend', half (50%) of 25-34-year-olds have repaired damaged or worn-out clothes.

Chana Baram, Mintel Retail Analyst, said, "The idea of 'reusing, reducing and recycling' has the potential to be a big disruptor in the fashion industry. Young shoppers seem to be emulating their grandparents, who were forced to 'make do and mend' during World War II. As the climate crisis continues to gain headlines, consumers' perspectives are shifting. It's no longer enough for clothing to be priced well, or to reference the latest trends; fashion brands and retailers also have to think about working towards a goal of providing more sustainable options.

"Many young people today are likely to be influenced by the 'Attenborough' or 'Greta' effects, and are becoming far more aware of the negative effects fast fashion can have on the environment. As a result, we have seen a real increase in the number of businesses and retailers offering repair services, second-hand items or rental options."

Sustainable fashion is indeed making waves, with younger consumers taking heed from celebrity environmentalists such as Emma Watson and Joaquin Phoenix, and are starting to shop more responsibly when it comes to fashion. According to the study, 68% of 16-24-year-olds say they are trying to make more ethical fashion purchases now than they did in the last 12 months; this compares to an average of 57% of British shoppers.

Overall, 30% of consumers agree they would choose a retailer based on whether or not they sold sustainable fashion ranges. However, 79% find it difficult to know which fashion retailers are ethical.

Price is not perceived as an indicator of sustainability, with just 22% agreeing that the more you pay for fashion, the more likely it is to be ethical. However, six in 10 (59%) Brits would be willing to pay more for sustainable fashion.

Finally, while Brits are interested in sustainable fashion, transparency is essential, as over two thirds (67%) of people agree that fashion retailers should let customers know when items are not made sustainably.

Are you prepared for the changes in retail when it comes to sustainability? Drop us an email and let us know your thoughts.