Automatgenererad bild.

12 December 2013

Wastefulness of youth a myth

Today, Mistra Future Fashion is releasing the first scientific study of consumer behaviour relating to fashion and sustainability that has been carried out in Sweden to the date. The study reveals a huge business potential for selling sustainable fashion. But clothing companies must improve in terms of informing consumers about sustainability. A clear majority of respondents said they might shop for clothes with more environmental awareness if they were better informed. The study also shows that a third of young people in Sweden often or always mend their clothes, thereby extending the garments’ life.

‘Seventy per cent of Sweden’s young people extend the life of their clothes by mending them. It’s surprising but pleasing to see that the profligacy of youth seems to be a myth,’ says Wencke Gwozdz, Associate Professor at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School.

Some 5% of the respondents are highly aware, and make an effort to buy more sustainable fashion and learn more about the subject. They are prepared to pay more for sustainable choices and may even consider buying a garment of inferior quality as long as it is sustainable. Young people in this category seldom do their buying in shopping centres; instead, they mostly buy secondhand. They are also the group that mend their clothes to the greatest extent.

Gwozdz continues: ‘More than 10% of the respondents go in for swapping — a consumption pattern that involves people exchanging clothes with one another. One example of this is Swapshop, which is opening temporary outlets around Stockholm. It shows that you can update your wardrobe without buying new garments. We also see that buying vintage clothing in secondhand shops has become more mainstream and established in every consumer category.’

Another finding of the study is that many people are prepared to make environmentally aware clothing choices as long as they receive good, trustworthy information.

‘Clothing makers, tell us about your sustainable options! There’s great business potential in selling sustainable fashion, but access, price and lack of information are crucial obstacles to more sustainable buying behaviour,’ she concludes.

To learn more, contact:

Wencke Gwozdz, Associate Professor, Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School. Tel.: +45-381 5339, email

Malin Lindgren, Communications Manager, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), tel. +46-761 123700, email

About the study

The study was an online questionnaire survey of a nationwide representative sample of 1,175 Swedish respondents aged 16–30 years, conducted by GfK on behalf of Mistra Future Fashion.

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