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3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the nation’s wardrobes, survey finds

6th Jun 2016

Every morning up and down the country, British homes play host to their own closet dramas causing 49 percent of the nation to suffer from 'wardrobe rage' - irrational tantrums directed at closets when choosing an outfit.

The study by Marks & Spencer (M&S) revealed that it takes us 15 minutes each morning to decide what to wear, with the average closet containing 152 items. 46 percent of people admitted to owning more items of clothing than five years ago, yet, we only wear 44 percent of these items regularly.

• Half of the nation admit to having regular 'wardrobe rage' - irrational tantrums directed at closets when choosing an outfit
• UK adults only wear 44 percent of the clothing they own regularly 
• Brits take on average 15 minutes each morning deciding what to wear 
• One in five (21 percent) women confess that 'wardrobe rage' has caused them to row with their partner 
• Leading fashion stylists state that a carefully curated wardrobe is the answer
• M&S and Oxfam are pioneering a drive for the nation to declutter their wardrobes and Shwop the 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the country's closets - an average of 57 items per person 

Women spend on average 17 minutes choosing their daily style, a total of four days in a year. Men however are speedier clocking in at 13 minutes, but a staggering one in 50 take more than two hours deciding what to wear getting ready each morning.

The reason for this time spent deciding what to wear can be found in the fact that almost a third (29 percent) of Brits feel that their wardrobe is a mess and 48 percent confess that they need to declutter. One in eight (12 percent) own over 300 items of clothing, despite one in five (20 percent) regularly stating that they 'have nothing to wear'.

Not only does this cause us undue stress, but it has also seen one in ten regularly arriving late to work because of the time spent choosing their outfit for the day. One in five (21 percent) women even admitted that it has caused them to row with their partner and 14 percent have refused to go out as a result of struggling to choose an outfit.

There are 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the nation's wardrobes - a whopping 57 items per person - with an average of 16 items only worn once and 11 still with the tags on. One in 20 of us even has over 50 items in our closets with the tags still on.

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are calling on the nation to edit their wardrobes and donate - or 'Shwop' - and release the power of good in these once-loved items of clothing. If just a fraction of these clothes were donated, Oxfam could help hundreds of thousands of people around the world out of poverty. Just £5 raised from the sale of a shwopped cardigan could provide safe water for five people.

Joanna Lumley, M&S's Shwopping ambassador said: "I have seen first-hand how a humble old pair of trousers can help to build a community for women, or provide clean, running water to those without it. We are a nation that holds onto everything, because we feel it may be of use to us again, but it won't. By tidying your wardrobe regularly, you will not only get a tidy mind, but also a clear conscience by Shwopping."

Leading fashion stylist Bay Garnett says it should take us no longer than two minutes to pick an outfit and has a simple answer, one which reduces time spent angrily throwing clothes around the bedroom and, prevents clothing waste: a carefully curated wardrobe. Garnett states that a few staple items that work season after season, together and alone, is all that is required to provide us with relief in times of sartorial need.

Garnett said of the wardrobe rage phenomenon: "We all need a regular closet detox: it helps us to not only easily choose what to wear, but also clear our mind. Opening our wardrobes in the morning can bring a startling range of emotions. Why do we put ourselves through it?

"We need to start thinking about dressing for the present - for the size we are now, for the job we're in now. It's a process of streamlining and getting rid of some past negativity before we add anything new. Shwopping these items will not only make your wardrobe more manageable for the first time in years, but also make your mind instantly clearer."

Joanna Lumley has joined the decluttering trend and her shwopped items will join a host of celebrity supporters' items and clothes from the public at an online sale this summer. The Oxfam Shwop Shop will see all proceeds going to the charity's work to alleviate global poverty.

Since its launch, Oxfam has received 24 million items of clothing thanks to Shwopping, worth an estimated £16.4 million for the charity. All money raised by the campaign is used to support Oxfam's projects around the world.

For more information on Marks & Spencer and Oxfam's Shwopping initiative visit www.marksandspencer.com/shwopping

Ends

For further information, interviews or images, contact:

Andrew Soar andrew.soar@hellounity.com / 020 7440 9817

Vishal Rana vishal@hellounity.com / 020 7440 9828


Notes To Editors:

About Shwopping
Shwopping is Marks & Spencer's revolutionary clothes recycling initiative where customers can donate any item of clothing, of any brand, to be resold, re-used or recycled by charity partner Oxfam.  The campaign aims to put an end to the one billion items currently ending up in landfill every year. For further information on Shwopping visit www.marksandspencer.com/shwopping

About Plan A 
Plan A is Marks & Spencer's eco and ethical programme that tackles both today's and tomorrow's sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan has helped M&S send no waste to landfill, become carbon neutral and win over 230 industry awards. To find out more please visit the Plan A website - www.marksandspencer.com/plana

About Oxfam 
Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty.  Oxfam is working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

Oxfam has just under 700 high street shops across the UK and Ireland and is one of the only major charity retailer to operate a textile sorting facility, Wastesaver. 

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