The big question: How can we change consumer behaviour to become more sustainable?

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Lucy Siegle

Reporter on The One Show and writer on environmental issues

‘A mindful strategy is key… to break cycles’

Last year, the global fashion industry smashed through the 100-billion-garments-a-year barrier. We’ve never churned out that many garments before, most from virgin resources. And some of the brands preaching loudest on sustainability are driving this rapacious engine of production, consumption and generator of waste. The current system is certainly set up in their favour.

Neurological research on fashion shoppers found that buying at speed, at volume and low price (ie fast fashion) is quasi addictive. So why on earth would any consumer be persuaded to shop differently? But, to my delight, many are. There is a small but significant rise in mindful fashion consumption.

For a long time, it has been supposed that only brands could drive this change. Now advice is increasingly peer driven. Some years ago I included in my book on ethical fashion, To Die For, a 30-wears rule. If I couldn’t look at a ...

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