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Wardrobe waste: what do you do with all your unworn clothes?

It’s safe to say fast fashion is a big problem for the environment, with an estimated 25% of the global carbon budget by 2050 attributed to the textile industry.

Interested in the environmental impact of disposable clothing, energy comparison site SaveOnEnergy recently discovered the top ten EU countries for recycling clothes. But what about in the UK? Are we as likely to head to the clothing bank or are we tempted to make a profit in the resale market? Research reveals the latter!

Speaking with 1,000 women about their wardrobes, SaveOnEnergy found:

  • The average number of items in a woman's wardrobe is 103 items

  • However, women admitted to not wearing 58% of their clothes in the last six months

  • 24% had not been worn in the last year

  • During lockdown we are only wearing 10% of our clothes

  • The average cost of one item in a woman's wardrobe is £32

  • We are wasting about £2,966 in unworn clothes during lockdown

Save up to with £4,000 by reselling old togs – designer preferably!

Resale website thredUP claims if you shopped second-hand exclusively for one year, you could save a staggering £1,652. Add this to the £2,966 worth of saleable clothes you have in your wardrobe and you could end up with £4,618 in the bank – and help save the planet.

In fact, if everyone bought just one second-hand item instead of new, thredUP believe we’d save enough energy to light up the Eiffel Tower for 141 years!

Arguably, you can make more money in the resale of on-trend designer brands which more people want to buy.

SaveOnEnergy decided to find out which brands are most sought-after second hand, by looking at Google search volumes, to help consumers decide whether to part with their unworn wares.

The most desirable second-hand items are:

7 tips for reselling clothes and accessories online

  1. Offer discounts: Try to offer a discount or deal, 94% of female shoppers rarely buy clothing that isn’t on sale.

  2. Take great photos: Make pictures as clear and detailed as possible. A picture with you in the clothes, so potential buyers can get a feel for how it looks on the body, is ideal.

  3. Get social: To get ahead of the curve, make sure your social channels are up-to-date and relevant. After all, almost 40% of shoppers say social media is the main inspiration for purchases!

  4. What’s trending?: In short, “young” designer labels can make you the most money. Think Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Tory Burch.  

  5. Honesty is the best policy: Unforeseen faults will make you an unreliable seller and you could risk losing your account due to disgruntled customers. Be candid about wear and tear.

  6. Sell activewear: Gym and sportswear is one of the fastest growing categories of clothing, due to the growing demand for fashionable fitness attire. Don’t overlook it!

  7. Upload items at the right time: Most second-hand shoppers are night owls that shop between 9pm and 10pm, according to research.

Don't stop with your clothes, read more on energy saving tips for your home.