Christmas jumpers – festive fun or fast fashion?

If you read the first post of our Christmas countdown, you’ll have seen the discussion about how we can engage with tradition in a more mindful way this Christmas. While we all love a bit of festive fun, how can we take into account the impact our purchases have on people and our planet? Today we’re turning our attention to another Christmas favourite… the Christmas jumper. While seasonal puns and festively fashionable days at work are all fun and games, it raises important questions. What impact is this having on our pockets, those who made our clothes and the planet?

Stitched up

Research shows that Christmas jumpers are having quite a large impact. An estimated £220m will be spent on jumpers embroidered with alpine motifs and glitter bedazzled fonts in the run up to the festive season this year. And research shows over 10 million of us are searching for them online each year. Data from environmental charity Hubbub shows that 1 in 4 Christmas jumpers bought in the last year were thrown away or will not be worn again. 1 in 3 of us buy a new Christmas jumper EVERY year, so we’re not seen in an old one.

So, are there ways we can engage with this fun and festive trend while thinking sustainably? Here’s a roundup of our best ideas to get you excited about festive fashion, without contributing to fast fashion. 

1. Host a Christmas jumper swap night.

You could even charge £1-2 entry and donate that money to charity. It’s a great opportunity to start a conversation about a circular economy and ethical fashion! The impact of the event could get people thinking about, not just this seasonal trend, but how other aspects of our consumption impact people and planet.

2. Borrow one

During the festive season Christmas jumpers are sometimes required for work or events. Instead of buying something that’s destined to stay at the back of your wardrobe, ask your friends or online. Someone is bound to have one they can loan you.

3. Champion the Re-wear revolution

Let’s start normalising being a #outfitrepeater. Show your friends, family and colleagues, it’s just as fun to get the same jumper out of the loft each year. However cheap they may be, we don’t need to run to the shop to replace them each year! 

As with many Christmas traditions it’s not a trend that’s inherently problematic, but how we engage with it. As we move through Advent let’s consider how our choices impact those in our global community and the planet we live in.

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