Articles

What Affects Garment Lifespans?

Graphical abstract that summarises some of the main findings of the article - what affects garments' lifespans most when measured in years, number of wears or number of users.

This is the question we discuss in our most recent article in Sustainability entitled: What Affects Garment Lifespans? International Clothing Practices Based on a Wardrobe Survey in China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA.

Clothing lifespans have been measured in three different ways, how long (years), how many times (wears) and by how many consumers (users) the garments were used. Based on wardrobe survey data from five countries, we have analysed which factors contribute most to the length of garment lifespans.

For the analysis, variables were divided into four blocks related respectively to the garment, user, garment use, and clothing practices, and used in two hierarchical multiple regressions and two binary logistic regressions. The models explain between 11% and 43% of the variation in clothing lifespans. The garment use block was most indicative for the number of wears, while garment related properties contribute most to variation in the number of users. For lifespans measured in years, all four aspects were almost equally important.

Some aspects that affect the lifespans of clothing cannot be easily changed (e.g., the consumer’s income, nationality, and age) but they can be used to identify where different measures can have the largest benefits.

Several of the conditions that affect lifespans can be changed through policy instruments such as improved consumer rights and financial incentives, as well as work with consumer attitudes and education. This applies particularly to attitudes towards fashion which seem to be an especially important factor for the length of garments’ lifespans. Attitudes can be changed and created, and the industry itself is an important driver, through advertising and marketing. Increasing clothing durability and intrinsic value over time will therefore be an important aim for the industry to counteract unnecessary replacement of the clothing.

Read the article: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/21/9151

Citation: Laitala K, Klepp IG. (2020) What Affects Garment Lifespans? International Clothing Practices Based on a Wardrobe Survey in China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Sustainability. 12(21):9151. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219151