Measuring the Active Life of Clothing

10th May 2016

This report details research exploring how long people keep and regularly wear their clothes for.

Key findings
Active use of clothing is an average 3.3 years across all types of clothing measured in the survey, across six different purposes for wearing
50% of respondents feel they already do enough to buy clothes that look good and last for longer, with a further 37% saying they would like to do more



This initial research establishes baseline figures for active use of clothing from which future changes can be measured and forms the basis a key action area of the SCAP 2020 Commitment: extending the useful life of clothes.

The findings of this research details the potential to bring a higher proportion of the wardrobe into active use.


The wide variety of reasons for which respondents have not worn items of clothing which they own imply a range of different actions are required in response. These need to take account of changing fashions, changing body-shapes, the sporadic nature of ‘special occasions’, a desire for more durable clothing and a lack of knowledge and skills on how best to care for clothes.

There is scope for behaviour change, with around a third of respondents interested in doing more to buy clothes that are made to last and in doing more to care for their clothes so they are kept in regular use for longer.

To find out more:

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Where next?

Want to know more about extending clothing life in sustainable textiles? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information: 

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