For years, the benchmark has been 30 wears. This spawned from the 30 Wears Challenge, first conceived by Eco Age co-founder Livia Firth and journalist Lucy Seigle in 2015. “It was a very different fashion landscape as there was much less awareness and fewer brands doing sustainable work as well,” explains Firth. “So many people were coming up to me and asking me, ‘Where do I shop? What do I buy?’” Ever since, slow-fashion campaigners have used this number as a minimum standard for buying new clothing.
“At the time it was coined, it was definitely a helpful phrase because it was pushing people to think differently about how they were consuming,” explains Emma Slade Edmonson, sustainability consultant, writer and host of the Mixed Up podcast. In the last seven years, sustainability has become much more of a hot topic. These days, Edmondson says that “conversations have definitely become more intelligent, thoughtful, and layered,” when it comes to fashion. “People are beginning to think in terms of intersectional sustainability and values when it comes to making purchasing decisions and where their old clothes are going,” she says.