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Saving secrets: The surprising truth about clothing lifespan uncovered

The University of Leeds has conducted groundbreaking research that questions the conventional belief that higher-priced clothing is inherently more durable. The ‘Worn Out’ report, commissioned by Hubbub and Primark, stands as one of the most extensive studies of its kind, examining new garments from diverse high street brands across varying price ranges under carefully controlled laboratory conditions

The goal of the research was to investigate whether the price of clothing correlates with its durability. It sought to answer the question of whether higher-priced garments last longer compared to cheaper ones.

The study assessed 65 garments, including denim jeans, hoodies, and T-shirts, from various retailers with prices ranging from under $10 to around $200 dollars. Each garment’s performance was evaluated against industry-recognized standards for durability, including repeat washing, visual assessments, and specific technical tests for each clothing type.

The research found that the retail price of a new garment cannot predict its durability. Both high and low-priced garments exhibited a wide range of durability levels across different clothing categories for both women’s and men’s wear.

Among the key findings, it was discovered that lower-priced women’s T-shirts outperformed their more expensive counterparts. Additionally, women’s hoodies priced between $15 to $25 demonstrated higher durability compared to those priced at just under $65 and around $130. Surprisingly, certain women’s jeans priced around $20 showed similar durability to pairs retailing at ten times the price. Moreover, an intriguing result emerged when a men’s T-shirt costing under $5 ranked as the second most durable among the 17 items tested, surpassing one retailing at a higher price.

The study also surveyed 3,000 UK adults and found that 67 percent of respondents believed expensive clothes would last longer. This perception influenced consumer behavior, as those who spent more on clothing tended to take better care of their garments and conduct more repairs.

Primark, the fast-fashion retailer, is taking initiatives to promote clothing durability and sustainability. The company plans to educate consumers on repairing clothes by scaling up its free clothing repair workshops. Additionally, Primark is collaborating with sustainability campaign group Wrap to establish an industry-wide durability standard based on the Clothing Longevity Protocol. Preliminary testing of denim products under this enhanced standard has already shown positive results. Recognizing the importance of durability can drive a shift towards more conscious consumption and contribute to reducing clothing waste and its environmental impact.


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