Fast fashion: a third of Filipinos have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once

Fast fashion: a third of Filipinos have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once
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New YouGov research also reveals one in eight have thrown unwanted clothing in the bin

Fast fashion has transformed the way we shop. The advent of more accessible and affordable fashion means that consumers are shopping more than ever before. The number of garments bought by the average shopper each year grew by 60% between 2000 and 2014 alone. With new lines added on a weekly basis, consumers no longer need to wait for the seasons to change to buy the latest trends. High street chains have come to dominate the market, so much so that fast fashion giant H&M is now twice as valuable as Chanel.

While many welcome the fashion revolution, accidents such as the Rana Plaza tragedy and accusations of exploitation have embroiled popular brands such as Zara, leading to questions over the industry’s ethics. Critics have also highlighted the impact that fast fashion brands have on the environment, fueling demand for cheap, disposable clothing that is carbon-intensive to produce and often ends up in landfill.

The latest YouGov Omnibus research reveals the extent of clothes waste in the Philippines. It finds that 65% of Filipino adults have thrown clothes away at some point in the past year and almost a quarter (24%) have thrown away more than ten items of clothing in the past year.

Nearly three in ten (29%) have thrown away an item of clothing after wearing it just once and, in the past year alone, nearly a fifth of all respondents (18%) have thrown away at least three items that they’ve only worn once.

42% of millennials have purchased at least half of the clothes that they own in the past 12 months

Fashion is big business in the Philippines, with nearly one in five of those polled (19%) estimating that they own over 100 garments (excluding underwear or accessories). Millennials (those aged between 16 and 34) have the highest proportion of new clothing; 42% of millennials say they have purchased at least half of the clothes that they own in the past year alone. This compares with 28% of baby boomers (those over 55) that say the same.

 

One in eight (12%) have thrown unwanted clothes in the bin

Whereas baby boomers are more likely to give their clothes to charity (63% of boomers have done this, compared with 47% of millennials) or pass them on to friends or family (80%, compared with 70%), millennials are more likely sell them online (16% of millennials do this compared with 4% of boomers).

Across all generations, one in eight (12%) have thrown unwanted clothes in the bin.

One in five throw away clothes simply because they’re more than a few seasons old

The most popular reason for disposing of clothes is because they no longer fit, which 60% consider grounds for throwing garments away. Other common reasons to throw clothes away are because they’re damaged (chosen by 46%) and because they have developed a fault (selected by 34% of respondents).

However, some simply throw clothes away because their tastes change; one in five (21%) throw clothes away because they’re “more than a few seasons old”, 18% say they throw clothes away because they have “now become unfashionable”, and 14% say they do so because they’re “bored of wearing it”.

YouGov’s Head of Omnibus, Jake Gammon, comments. “Fast fashion brands have been keen to remove their unsustainable label. Yet despite various recycling initiatives by leading labels, this survey highlights just how many clothes go to waste each year in the Philippines. Looking ahead to the future, there is a worrying trend among millennials; their propensity to dispose of clothing at a faster rate than older generations suggests that there is an uphill battle ahead for those keen to tackle this issue head on.”

The bigger picture

At a regional level, Vietnamese and Chinese consumers are the most likely to keep clothes for under a year before throwing them away, where 27% and 23% do so (respectively). By contrast, Australians, Hong Kongers and Singaporeans are the least likely to keep their clothes for under a year – just 4%, 6% and 6% (respectively) say the same.

However, Thais are the most likely to have thrown away more than three items of clothing in the past year that they have only worn once (17% have done so), whereas Chinese consumers are the least likely (8% have done so). On the other end of the scale, as many as 25% of Filipinos, 21% of Malaysians and 21%of Indonesians have not thrown away any items of clothing in the past year.

*Data was collected online by YouGov Omnibus between 20 and 30 October 2017 among 3,037 respondents in the Philippines. Results are representative of the adult online population.

Photo source: Getty Image