Off The Hanger: a fresh take on your wardrobe
By Alex Robinson 23rd August, 2023
I’ve had a black and red checked shirt in my wardrobe for as long as I can remember. It was a favourite, years ago. It’s accompanied me on at least four house moves, but I don’t think I’ve worn it in a decade. It turns out I’m not alone in my guilty secret: in the UK, people have an average of 118 items of clothing, but over a quarter of them haven’t been worn in the past year.
Tee-ing things up
Our new campaign, Off The Hanger, is here to help people fall back in love with the clothes in our wardrobes. In doing so, we aim to show a positive alternative to a mainstream fashion culture that leads to a vast amount of overconsumption and waste. At last count by WRAP, we chuck away 336,000 tonnes of used clothing each year – not far off the weight of the Empire State Building.
Our insights show that Gen Z and Millennials are buying clothing more often than the rest of the population. Clothing plays an important role in self-expression and identity, so our campaign is rooted in people’s love of fashion. We’re offering practical, inspiring ways for people to boost their style without filling their shopping baskets.
The ultimate goal? To establish a proven approach that helps 18 to 30-year-olds buy fewer clothes.
Off The Hanger
Off The Hanger is a digital comms campaign encouraging older Gen Zs and young Millennials to find fresh fits in their own wardrobes by challenging them to count their clothes, and refashion and restyle what they already have.
Counting your clothes is a simple but powerful step. It helps you to:
- Reduce that feeling of never having anything to wear by reminding you how much you’ve got. And you can’t plan to create a new outfit if you’ve forgotten what you own.
- Re-establish an emotional connection with your clothes – the count encourages you to think about your clothes, what’s the oldest item, your favourite, etc. If you have an emotional attachment, you’re more likely to hang on to it and hopefully wear it.
- Have an idea of how much you’ve spent on your clothes – a sense of what you’ve invested will encourage you to seek value for money from your clothes.
To do the count, we’ve created an online counter which guides you through the process of thinking about how many clothes you might have, counting your clothes and reflecting on what you've discovered. And we’re working with influencers to promote the message, mainly through TikTok and Instagram. We’ll track and share our results and insights, with a view to supporting other organisations who share our aims.
The long and shirt of it
Off The Hanger is a step towards our vision of a society with high awareness of the environmental impact of fashion. We’re building towards a world where people buy far fewer new items of clothing, everyone takes better care of clothing and repairs damaged items. By telling new stories and shifting cultures we aim to influence businesses to focus on closed loop products, and encourage people to repair, re-sell, and recycle. And we want government to legislate against irresponsible production and disposal of clothing and textiles.
We can’t do this alone. We’d love to partner with other organisations to establish Off The Hanger as an ongoing campaign for young people, so if that is of interest, please get in touch.
And my shirt? Last week I sent it to a pre-loved clothes retailer, and they will sell it online and donate a portion of the income to charity. I might have fewer shirts now, but I know and love what I’ve got.
Are you a business that wants to collaborate?
If you have a challenge to share, or want to get involved with our work, we'd love to hear from you.
Want more on how to make your wardrobe work for you and the planet?
Tune into the new season of our podcast ‘Down to Earth’ to explore everything sustainable fashion in conversation with designers, experts and changemakers.