Clothing Reuse: The Potential in Informal Exchange

Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp


Reuse organised by non-profit and commercial actors is a strategy that recently received a lot of attention. This article discusses the question: what do we know about the amount of clothes that circulate outside the pecuniary markets? And is this amount increasing or declining? The questions are answered based on quantitative material from Norway. Almost twice as many had received used clothing as those who had bought used clothing, and our material do not indicate that this are declining. At the same time 59 per cent of Norwegian adults had neither received nor bought used clothing for themselves during the past two years. For children, inheritance is very common and the younger the children are, the more they inherit. The amount of the private clothing exchange is greater than the formal market in Norway. Therefore, when the goal is a more sustainable clothing consumption we need to include the parts of consumption that are not only related to money.

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