A new report from fashion reuse charity TRAID (Textile Reuse and International Development) reveals almost quarters (23 per cent) of Londoners’ wardrobes are unworn, equivalent to 123 mn items of clothes. On the third anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), TRAID is calling on the fashion industry to champion SDG 12 – to ensure sustainable consumption and production – with its new 23 per cent Campaign.

The study finds that Londoners own an average of 76 items of clothing, but 18 of these are lurking in wardrobes and never worn – most commonly because they no longer fit. The total amount of unworn clothes owned by Londoners equates to 123 mn items, or 333,000 tonnes of CO² – enough to power 50,000 homes for a whole year. TRAID’s new report details how retailers can work with them to engage customers, offer free home collections and provide workshops to prolong the life of clothes.

Andrea Speranza, Campaign Manager at TRAID, said: “Cheap fast fashion is powering rising consumption and production, placing unsustainable demands on finite resources to produce clothes which are poorly made, barely worn and quickly replaced. From carbon emissions and use of water in the production of clothes, through to landfill and incineration when clothes are thrown away, the fashion industry can have a devastating environmental impact.

“Progress of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is vital to the future health and sustainability of our planet, but 72 per cent of Londoners have never even heard of them. The campaign to put London’s 23 per cent of unworn clothes back into use is an opportunity to advance the goals, and ensure more sustainable consumption and production,” she added.

TRAID works to tackle problems caused by producing, consuming and disposing clothes. Keeping clothes in use for longer is at the heart of the charity’s work, facilitated by providing convenient ways for the public to reuse clothes – including home collections, clothes recycling banks and charity shops – and delivering education to raise awareness of the environmental and social benefits of clothing footprint reduction.