Gen Z turns its back on fast fashion to focus on sustainable options

Oxfam charity shop storefront
Young people are “increasingly turning their backs on fast fashion”, citing environmental concerns as their main motivation.
// Young people are “increasingly turning their backs on fast fashion”
// A quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds have chosen more sustainable options for the festive season

Young people are “increasingly turning their backs on fast fashion” according to recent research, citing environmental concerns as their main motivation.

The YouGov poll, which examined the attitudes of 2,094 adults across the UK, found 25% of Gen Z respondents have chosen second-hand or rented clothes over the festive season this year.

More than half of the 18 to 24-year-olds questioned (58%) also said they are likely to shop more sustainably in the future.

The survey went on to reveal younger people are far more likely to buy second-hand clothes or gifts than the older generation, with just 5% of over-55s planning to wear rented or second-hand clothing this Christmas. Less than a quarter would consider buying second-hand or renting in the future.

More than half (51%) of women said they would consider wearing rented or second-hand clothes in future years, compared with just one-fifth (21%) of men.

Read more: M&S launches clothing rental service ahead of Xmas with Hirestreet

Renting, re-using or sharing clothes has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months, with major high street retailers such as M&S embracing the movement thanks to its environmental and ethical benefits.

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

“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 wastes 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 a ‘no’ to fast fashion, is an important step in the right direction.”

The fashion industry is estimated to use 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources and create 92 million tonnes of waste each year.

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