Changing fashion

Think tank: Green Alliance

Author(s): Libby Peake; Emily Carr; Heather Plumpton

April 22, 2024

This report from UK think tank Green Alliance investigates how reuse is working in the UK for the fashion sector.

The landscape of reuse is rapidly evolving, with a noticeable surge in interest from major corporations and a growing openness among the public to embrace second-hand goods, particularly amidst high cost of living.

However, despite shifting attitudes, the full potential of the reuse economy remains untapped.

In this report, we investigate how reuse is working in the UK for the fashion sector. Research by PwC for the Circular Economy Task Force shows that reuse can already be profitable for fashion businesses, especially if they create appealing platforms and develop technologies to cut costs.

The findings underscore a public consensus that the government must take decisive action to curb overproduction in the fashion industry, with YouGov polling revealing strong support for policies prioritising quality over quantity.

We conclude that the government should prioritise banning the destruction of unsold goods and establish an effective extended producer responsibility system for textiles.

Such a system would not only improve data accuracy, but also set benchmarks for clothing quality, reduction and reuse, alongside facilitating effective recycling practices.