After an admittedly bleak few years for holidays, people are understandably, embracing their returned ability to go on holiday freely with great enthusiasm. With the pandemic first keeping the public at home, then allowing restricted forms of freedom (in the form of curfews for restaurants and pubs, among other guidelines), before eventually allowing people to go on holidays. This came with conditions of course; even when permitted to go abroad, the amount of tests and paperwork involved in the travelling made it feel more hassle than it was worth. Even those who opted for holidays within the U.K. had so many restrictions surrounding their travels, many simply chose to stay at home.
Now with the beginning of Summer, the restrictions around travelling are the lightest they’ve been for years, and people are taking full advantage of this. Reports are showing a 20-30% increase in enquiries by holiday-seekers within the U.K. alone, as flight delays and cancellations, rather than Covid restrictions, have seen obstacles still occurring for those seeking to go abroad. Whether braving it and going abroad despite the strikes and union action causing chaos, or going for a staycation, one thing is certain: the public are wanting to take a break this summer.
One of the most exciting parts of going away on a trip is, of course, the wardrobe that comes accompanies your travels. Ignoring the countless outfits already in their wardrobe, vacation goers will spend countless hours and finance on new clothing purchases, all made with the goal of helping them feel their best on their getaway. With this desire comes the urge to buy in bulk, for every possible situation that could arise while on the trip. This then leads to one quite big problem for the world of sustainability: single-wear purchases.
There’s no arguing it’s satisfying to browse, and buy, an array of pretty bikinis to wear on the beach, accompanied by sundresses, hats, and any other accompaniments for a summer holiday. The problem comes when consumers purchases these new holiday wardrobes for their upcoming trip, wear them once while away, then begin the cycle of ignoring what you already own in favour of buying new clothes, when their next trip arrives.
In 2019, the waste charity WRAP estimated £140 million worth of clothing ends up in a landfill every year, and a survey conducted for Bernardo’s that same year showed that Britons spend over £700 million on outfits bought purely for special events. With a quarter of those people being embarrassed to wear that same item of clothing more than once.
Now, as the first year where all out travelling is being allowed and embraced by the public, it’s more than likely those figures will increase. So it is also more important than ever for holiday goers to take stock of the clothing they already have, and can use on their trips, before running on shopping sprees to buy a wardrobe.
Of course, that’s not to say holiday shopping can’t still be done sustainably, and travelling can still provide the feeling of refreshment that a new wardrobe offers without needing to leave behind such a damaging environmental impact. One of the easiest ways this can be achieved is by opting to do shopping for a vacation at charity shops or online platforms, such as Ebay or Depop, where second-hand clothing can then be reused by travellers, extending its lifetime and still allowing for the excitement of new purchases.
Likewise, spending more time and planning into holiday clothes shopping can help lessen the environmental impact of these purchases. By investing in a smaller amount of higher quality garments, consumers can buy new items for their trips that will last longer and be utilised more, taking away the harmful results of cheaper single-wear pieces.
Whatever strategy customers take, it’s important to be thoughtful and mindful of the wider impacts resulting from vacation clothing, and consider the ways in which it can be done sustainably.