YOU’RE DELUSIONAL: Consumers in the U.K., Switzerland and Canada face the biggest differential regarding their consumption levels, according to a new study by Movinga.
The takeaway is that “collective delusion” in regards to hoarding and wastefulness is a problem for society. The aim is to remind consumers of how their habits play into the worldwide scale to try to raise consciousness and spark a discussion about how individuals can step up and pitch in.
Eighteen-thousand heads of households in 20 countries were quizzed about the percentage of their wardrobes that hadn’t been worn in the past 12 months, the percentage of their grocery shopping that ends up as waste and the percentage of transferred belongings that were still not in use. Movinga then collated the responses with data from the World Bank and other studies on the topic.
An estimated $500 billion worth of clothing that is barely worn and rarely recycled is lost annually. In simpler math, the average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year. And if there are no signs of improvement, the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Movinga’s study indicated that the U.S. respondents ranked 16th with an average delusional rate of 22.6 percent and an average delusion of 39 percent for clothes that people think they wore during the past year. The study revealed that Russia was the country with the lowest level of delusion with 3.3 percent and Switzerland topped the list with 26.3 percent.
When it comes to clothing, Belgium had the highest delusion percentage at 62 percent. Belgian respondents thought they had worn 26 percent of their wardrobes in the past year and the reality was they hadn’t worn 88 percent. Russians appear to put their apparel to good use with the lowest rate of the 20 countries at six percent. They thought they hadn’t worn 47 percent of their wardrobes. There was a tie for third between Italy and Switzerland, which each had a delusion rate of 53 percent.
Movinga’s chief executive officer Finn Age Hänsel said, “With the oceans becoming ever more polluted with plastic, and the fast-fashion industry bigger than ever, it’s time to start encouraging individuals to reconsider whether they really need more stuff.”
To try to offset that, companies like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and The North Face are selling gently used pieces and repaired styles to consumers. Stella McCartney has been a vocal advocate for years and her site has a designated platform to better inform consumers about the company’s strides toward a restorative economy. Last month, Adidas committed to using only recycled plastics in its products by 2024. The brand’s spring apparel collection will reportedly consist of 41 percent recycled polyester. The clothing alteration services industry alone is a $2 billion industry with no one company dominating the sector, according to IbisWorld. The industry is facing more competition from other areas that offer similar services such as dry cleaning and laundry. Tailors and seamstresses may continue to be affected as more brands embrace repairing clothing. With clients such as REI, Prana, Ibex and Toad&Co, interest has been so strong that The Renewal Workshop doubled the size of its factory and its staff this year.