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Wasted Fashion: 1/3 Of All Clothing In Hong Kong Wardrobes Never Worn


The study, titled Clothing Consumption, Usage and Disposal Habits in Hong Kong, revealed a series of stark figures showing the prevalence of overconsumption and throwaway habits amongst Hong Kong consumers when it comes to their fashion choices. In addition to finding that 40% of Hongkongers keep clothing for one year or less, the survey indicated that nearly a third discard unwanted clothing in the rubbish, contributing to the 196 tonnes of clothing entering the city’s landfills every single day.


With fashion’s environmental impact set to drastically worsen, our results prove that Hong Kong has a long way to go towards steering a more sustainable fashion industry.


Christina Dean, Founder & Chair of Redress


Of all the clothing in Hongkongers’ wardrobes, almost one third are also never or rarely worn, with consumers citing impulse buying due to discounts as the number one trigger behind unused clothing items, while the oldest piece of clothing is on average around six years old. Shockingly, the city’s shoppers spend more monthly expenditure on clothing than on health or education. 


“With fashion’s environmental impact set to drastically worsen, our results prove that Hong Kong has a long way to go towards steering a more sustainable fashion industry,” said Christina Dean, founder and chair of Redress.


However, the Redress study also found that there is a shift in consumption behaviour due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 53% of respondents saying they do have enough clothes and 30% recognising how their fashion habits have an environmental impact. Crucially, two out of three consumers in the city say they are changing their fashion consumption behaviours due to the pandemic, including re-wearing the same clothes more often and donating unwanted items to charities. 


“The global pandemic encouraged many of us to reassess our approach to buying and wearing clothes,” explains Dean. “Some consumers [are] recognising that their consumption habits pre-Covid-19 were excessive. We hope that consumers will continue to reassess their purchasing behaviours and ultimately change their perceptions on how they can extend the lifespan of their clothes.”


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