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Sustainable futures: extending product lifetimes

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As consumers adopt a ‘buy less, use it for longer’ mindset, opportunities are rising for platforms and products that enable greater care of products and promote reuse.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg starred as the cover interview on the launch issue of Vogue Scandinavia this month, commenting that she hasn’t bought new clothes for more than three years, choosing to buy secondhand, borrow or repair items instead.

The changing fashion mindset

Dylon Dyes’ new campaign, Re-Dye Don’t Re-Buy, cites research that 34% of respondents are consciously buying fewer clothes now and encourages people to care better for the clothes they have via how-to guides.

wgsn infographic

This mindset is echoed in WGSN social media data (above), which shows that conversations about product longevity and versatility are growing within the fashion industry. Key words “timeless”, “versatile” and “repair” all show steady growth on our Influencer Map from 2017-2021, with average penetration of the word “repair” upticking +19% YoY.

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“Brands at all levels are starting to take a vested interest in their shared responsibility with the consumer, post-purchase. Developing timeless styles with built-in versatility and offering mending and repair services – which have had a major boost thanks to Generation DIY on TikTok – are ways of encouraging consumers to buy less and reuse, helping them to actively be part of a solution that can result in the life of clothing being extended and remaining in a circular loop for longer.”

 Angela Baidoo, Senior Strategist Womenswear, WGSN Fashion

cottonbro/Pexels

Also focusing on education, IKEA Canada’s Repurposeful Instructions show how to reuse IKEA products in creative second ways, turning cabinets into beehives and bags into planters.

Care and repair

Product care presents a range of opportunities for brands. New appliance W’air uses hydrodynamic tech to reduce the washing needed for clothes or upholstery, lowering water use by 99% and detergent use by 77%. Clothing app Whering’s new Caring Partners feature enables users to browse care and repair services near them.

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Colombian design studio Dos Grados promotes the beauty of visible repair, showing people how to mend items such as clothes and tech.

WGSN subscribers can see the full Sustainability Bulletin: September 2021 here.

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