It follows research by the charity which suggests that people in the UK will splash out an incredible £3.5 billion on new clothes for the Christmas party season this year, but eight million items will only be worn only once.
A survey by Oxfam found that 65 per cent of Brits will buy at least one new item of clothing for the Christmas party season, splashing out an average of £106 each. But a quarter (24 per cent) of those say they will only wear the item once over the festive period – leaving clothes to fester in wardrobes or end up in landfill.
Supporting Oxfam’s sustainable Christmas partywear campaign, Ellie Goulding, who donated a designer outfit including a little black Isabel Marant dress, said: “I’m donating pieces from my wardrobe and hoping to pick up something amazing in their place. Follow Oxfam’s lead and when you fall out of love with an outfit, let someone else fall in love with it. Source your new look from Oxfam too, and you’re showing maximum respect for clothes, the planet and style. With Oxfam’s expertise at re-circulating our fashion, you will never fear the re-wear.”
Una Healy, who donated a shimmery evening gown, said: “I love dressing up at this time of year and while I love high street shops, I’ll be making sure I have a look at the Oxfam Online shop too. I’ve donated a party dress this year, but there are some amazing bargains to be had. It’s a huge treasure trove of vintage, sparkly and one-off pieces and you can do your bit for those living in poverty too.”
The Oxfam Online Shop and 610 high street shops are now stocked with donated partywear from the charity’s textile recycling operation, which ensures that no clothes, whatever the quality, end up in landfill. Oxfam Online Batley is a major depot for sorting the items, and is one of the principal online operations for the Online Shop. It identifies sought-after and valuable pieces, including designer fashion and luxury accessories, technical sportswear and vintage finds, and showcases them to a worldwide audience. “We aim to offer a broad range of items to appeal to everyone,” it says, adding that it slows down fast fashion by giving clothes a second chance to be sold as it funds its vital work around the world.
Oxfam’s Fee Gilfeather said: “The figures revealed by this research are staggering, and it is vital clothes don’t just go to waste. Oxfam is the right destination for ethical fashion lovers, because our shops are stocked with glamorous pieces which help save the planet and raise money for the world’s poorest people to access clean water, food and shelter.”
Fast fashion, the charity says, uses speed and low cost production systems to deliver new clothes to the high street inspired by the catwalk or celebrities. It has been reported that one truck of textiles is wasted every second and that the fashion industry is responsible for 92 million tonnes of waste dumped in landfill every year. Microfibre pollution and the toxic chemicals used in dyeing textiles to meet consumers’ appetite for fast fashion is also blamed for polluting our oceans.
But three in five Brits say they won’t recycle last year’s Christmas party outfit, with 35 per cent saying they don’t want to appear on social media wearing the same clothes 12 months later. Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of people surveyed say they will buy at least five pairs of shoes for Christmas and a quarter (24 per cent) say they will be buying four or more tops for family gatherings, the office party and Christmas Day itself.
The most important consideration for Brits buying a Christmas party outfit is low price with 20 per cent citing this as their priority while 19 per cent said their top priority was being able to wear it again and 14 per cent said being a good fit.
Millennials aged 25-34 are the biggest consumers of fast fashion, with most (92 per cent) saying they will buy at least one item of clothing over Christmas, spending an average of £183. A third (34 per cent) say they will wear their outfit just once compared to a quarter (25 per cent) of people aged 18-25 and 19 per cent of those aged 35-44.
Millennials proved to be the most wasteful age group in the country when it comes to clothes, with an average of 51 items going unworn – and throwing away an average of 52 items a year. People aged 18-24 throw away an average of 34 items a year but are the most conscious of the effect on the environment, with 34 per cent saying it makes them feel guilty.
Londoners push the boat out most when it comes to shopping for Christmas party outfits, splashing out an average of £176 compared to those in the east of England who spend £43. On average Brits throw away 28 items of clothing a year and have 32 items of clothing in their wardrobe that have not been worn for 12 months – with two-fifths (42 per cent) saying this makes up more than half their wardrobe.
A third (32%) of Brits say it never crosses their mind that clothes they throw away go straight to landfill sites while a fifth (18%) admit they are concerned – but do nothing about it.