LONDON FASHION WEEK FALLS OUT OF STYLE

Brits distaste for Fashion Week revealed as nearly half (47%) agree it is a central cause in promoting the overconsumption of clothing. The calls for change are clear as the majority (57%) say London Fashion Week should instead highlight how clothes can be repurposed, with 51% agreeing pre-loved fashion should command a greater space on the catwalk.

Fashion Week’s Wrong Fit 

According to data released by circular economy platform Gumtree, over half (53%) of the population believe London Fashion Week is responsible for creating a focus on ‘of the moment’ trends that ultimately contribute to more clothes waste.

The findings come as 46% of adults say they have been driven to purchase new garments as a result of the event, with 23% having turned to the highstreet to replicate styles seen on the runway (rising to 42% of Gen-zs).

 

Fuelling eco-anxiety 

However, this demand to stay ‘on trend’ is having a damaging effect, as 41% of younger generations (Gen-Zs and Millennials) agree the pressure to purchase new clothes is feeding into their climate anxiety.

Unsurprisingly, these generations are also the most fed up with the pressure created by Fashion Week to buy new clothes (43% vs 35% of all adults).

 

Stripping down to the truth 

The majority of adults (54%) see responsibility lying with brands and designers to change the fashion industry for the better, with nearly three-quarters (73%) wanting brands to be more transparent about their sustainability efforts and policies.

Therefore, to expose the naked truth behind the fashion industry and the £140 million of clothing waste that ends up in landfill each year2, Gumtree staged a protest featuring naked demonstrators outside the home of London Fashion Week. Featuring placards emblazoned with stats on the circular economy and how second-hand fashion can help tackle the always-on fashion culture in Britain, the re-commerce platform is urging consumers across the UK to think second-hand first.

 

Calling time on consumption

As the tide of consumer attitudes towards sustainability turns, the research from Gumtree further reveals how Brits want London Fashion Week and the wider industry to adapt to changing customer demands.

Over half (51%) would like to see pre-loved fashion command a bigger space on the catwalk, and the same figure (51%) agree designers should encourage second-hand purchasing by reusing items from previous seasons. In addition, 57% want fashion brands to use events like Fashion Week to highlight how clothes can be repurposed.

Overall, the majority (56%) would prefer the event and wider fashion marketing to focus more on timeless wardrobe staples that can be reused year after year.

 

“More than a fifth of us (23%) feel pressure to purchase new items to keep up with trends, therefore we’re calling on the world’s leading fashion houses and designers to lead the charge and ensure what’s trending is sustainable. We have a collective responsibility to put an end to ‘wear it once’ culture once and for all. Millions are waking up to the benefits of discovering beautiful pre-loved pieces, however only 17% of people regularly buy second-hand clothing. We need brands to fire imaginations and showcase the style credentials of pre-loved pieces – particularly as so many of the latest trends take inspiration from previous decades of fashion. This Fashion Week we’re calling on those who want to marry style with sustainability to list and browse pieces on Gumtree, so that together we can start a consumption rebellion and demonstrate that style doesn’t have to cost the earth.”

Hannah Rouch, Chief Marketing Officer at Gumtree

 

From flashy fashion to flash sales 

Yet, Fashion Week isn’t the only catalyst fuelling the pressure to buy, buy, buy. Brits are targeted with an average 10 alerts every week from brands via app notifications, emails and text messages – encouraging them to make purchases they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Over a third (37%) of these rash purchases are regretted by buyers, costing both the planet and our purses.

 

Putting Second-hand First 

Although calls for change are clear, it’s evident Brits need more encouragement to turn to the pre-loved market. This year, the average adult is set to spend an average of £304 on new clothes – equating to £13.6bn3 in total across the nation. Yet, when it comes to our shopping habits, over two thirds (68%) will automatically look to buy these items from retailers instead of second-hand.

 

The average cost of ‘wardrobe staples’ new on the high street vs second-hand price on Gumtree and the CO2 emissions produced if item is bought new 
Clothing item (adult) High Street cost new Second-hand cost on Gumtree* Carbon emissions produced when item bought new
Jeans £63.50 £19 25.4 kg
Coats/Jackets £91.47 £35 36.7 kg
Dresses £50.95 £27 20.4 kg
Shirts/tops £24 £10 9.6 kg
Sunglasses £65.40 £54 35.3 kg
Watches £96.81 £82 52.3 kg
Cardigans/jumpers £62.50 £19 25 kg
Handbags £57.63 £44 11.7 kg
Boots £116.38 £32 52.2 kg
Trousers £60.56 £16 24.3 kg
Trainers £94.81 £50 25.4 kg
TOTAL £784.01 £388 318.3 kg

*Average cost per adult item of clothing on Gumtree between August 2022 – August 2023.

Full details about Gumtree’s carbon emission savings calculator can be found here.

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