UK charity calls for avoiding fast fashion post lockdown

Though the British public are making do and mending clothes during the lockdown, the government, industry and consumers must do more to ensure avoiding a return to ‘fast fashion’, says a report by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), which found the lockdown has dramatically altered consumer habits and attitudes.

RSA has urged the government to invest in sustainable fashion and create a dedicated green ‘Beyond GDP’ resilience fund to support burgeoning circular economy innovation within clothing and textiles (and other sectors) to enable greater regional resilience, to stimulate local demand and create high skilled local employment.

This should also ensure that any job and training support programme announced later this year supports growing circular economy jobs within fashion, the charitable organisation said in a press release.

The lockdown has forced changes in that way that we buy fashion, with 35 per cent of women stating that they intend to purchase fewer items of clothing in future and 28 per cent of respondents finding that they are reusing or recycling clothing more than usual.

The public wants more opportunities for repair and reuse (68 per cent) and less pressure from advertising (62 per cent) and social media (65 per cent) to buy clothing. Fifty eight per cent of the respondents reported having bought less clothing during the lockdown.

There is a strong appetite for change in the fashion industry after the pandemic. Fewer than 1 in 5 (19 per cent) of respondents in the survey conducted by RSA believe that the industry should return to business as usual and half of them think that the industry should do whatever it takes to become more environmentally sustainable.

Leading the charge towards sustainability are ‘generation Z’, many of whom are planning on making changes to their purchasing habits as a result of the lockdown. Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 (27 per cent) are particularly committed to supporting brands with strong social and environmental policies.

Thirty five per cent of 18-24 year olds intend to buy fewer items of clothing after the lockdown has ended. This group is critical to fashion marketing and for fashion companies to attract new talent to the industry, RSA found.

But there are worrying signs the society could see a revert to type: 40 per cent say they are looking forward to buying clothes again, and only 34 per cent say that consumers should be prepared to pay more for clothes. This is in spite of 83 per cent agreeing that clothes should be designed to last longer and be repairable.




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