Young adults rejecting fast fashion for pre-loved clothes in eco boom

Young adults are shunning fast fashion and opting for more eco-friendly, pre-loved options, a YouGov survey reveals.

The research revealed that a quarter of 18 to 24 year olds have rented or purchased second-hand clothes for the festive party season and 58% say they are likely to do so again in the future. However, only 5% of adults over 55 wore rented or second-hand clothing this Christmas.

The YouGov research, commissioned by the University of Hull, also showed that young people were more likely to buy second hand clothes or gifts for Christmas, due to environmental concerns.

The University said that the pre-loved clothing movement had gained recognition in recent years, partly due to celebrities keen to highlight the cause. In addition, modern-day slavery and exploitation were key considerations for consumers rejecting fast fashion.

“This study clearly shows that – whether driven by an environmental or ethical motive – young people are increasingly turning their backs on fast fashion.” Hull University Energy and Environment Institute director professor Dan Parsons said.

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“We will have to live with the consequences of our throwaway culture for decades, if not centuries, to come, and discarded clothing created by the emergence of fast fashion has played a significant role in what is a tsunami of microplastic waste around the world.

“It is encouraging to see that young people are now driving a move towards a new environmentally conscious and aware society, renting and hiring clothing, and moving to saying “no” to fast fashion is an important step in the right direction.

“The volume of plastics now in circulation globally means we have effectively entered a new geological period – geoscientists call this the Anthropocene [an age in which human activity has a significant impact on the planet].

“But the prevalence and distribution of waste plastics in the environment means I think we will eventually call this the Plasticene, the plastic age.”

The fashion industry uses an estimated 98 million tons of non-renewable resources and produces 92 million tons of waste a year.

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