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30 October 2012

TOTTING UP THE COST - M&S CALLS ON PARENTS TO 'SHWOP' BABY CLOTHES

Typical tot's wardrobe worth £327

Average under one owns 56 different outfits

Over half of all parents admit throwing baby clothes in the bin

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is calling on mums and dads to recycle or ‘shwop' more of their children's baby clothing after a survey found that UK babies own more clothes than they can wear.

The average child under one has a bulging wardrobe packed with 56 different outfits – while one in eight now owns more than 100 garments, the study of 1,000 parents, conducted by M&S, found.

A typical tot's wardrobe is now worth an eye-watering £327.

Worryingly, not all items are actually worn. Two thirds (65% of parents) were given items they would ‘never dress their baby in', while almost three in five (56%) admit throwing baby clothes the bin as they didn't like them or they weren't practical.

M&S spokesperson Mark Sumner said: “This survey shows that too many baby clothes are going to waste. We want to give old and unused clothes a future and therefore encourage all parents to shwop unwanted baby clothes rather than thrown them in the bin so they can be reused, recycled or resold via our partners Oxfam.”

Sarah Farquhar, Oxfam spokesperson: "Baby clothes, especially unused baby clothes, retain a high value and therefore can be sold through our stores and find a very grateful owners whilst at the same time raising crucial funds to support some of the world's poorest people."

Mum and fashion styling Anna Foster comments: “Even if you get given something you wouldn't allow your child to wear in public, there's absolutely no excuse to put it in the bin.

Not everyone has the same taste, in fact one woman's rubbish is another woman's gold, so, whilst it may not work its way into your child's wardrobe, there's probably someone out there who would love to dress their little one in it.”

More details on the survey results –

  • Parents blame celebrity yummy mummies and dapper dads for spending splurge;
  • One in 50 families splashed out on single baby items costing £100 or more;
  • A third admitted splashing out over £100 on outfits before their baby was born;
  • On average, babies wear an item just 12 times;
  • Three quarters of a baby's clothes are bought as gifts.

The poll found that parents are blaming celebrity yummy mummies and dapper dads for the surge in spending on children's clothing. Two in five said seeing pictures of well-dressed celebrity tots including Harper Beckham and Suri Cruise piles on the pressure for them to kit out their own kids in designer fashions.

Incredibly, one in 50 families splashed out on single baby items costing £100 or more, including designer coats and cashmere cardigans and, despite the trend for ‘make do and mend', two in five parents refused hand me downs and insisted their little one wore brand new togs.

The trend to dress babies as ‘mini mes' is driving parents to spend more money on clothing youngsters than clothing themselves. Over a third (33.8%) of parents polled admitted splashing out in excess of £100 on outfits for the baby before it was born, compared to just a quarter who spend the same on dressing themselves during the pregnancy.

However despite forking out huge amounts on their offspring looking fashionable, kids clothes have a much poorer ‘cost per wear' than adult's wardrobes. The study shows, on average, babies wear an item just 12 times, only half of the 23 times the average mum dons each garment in her wardrobe.

Overall, three quarters of a baby's clothes are bough as gifts, partially explaining why the rate of clothes being thrown away is so high.

Shwopping

Shwopping is Marks & Spencer's revolutionary clothes recycling initiative where customers can donate any item of clothing, of any brand, to be re-used, resold or recycled by charity partner Oxfam. Launched by Plan A ambassador Joanna Lumley, M&S believes Shwopping can revolutionise clothes shopping by asking consumers to adopt a ‘buy one, give one' mentality and encourage greater sustainability on the high street.

The campaign aims to put an end to the one billion items currently ending up in landfill every year. All M&S clothing stores now accept used and unwanted items of clothing from any brand, all year round. The ultimate aim for M&S is to collect 350 million items a year – recycling as many clothes as it sells.

For further information on Shwopping visit www.marksandspencer.com/shwopping

- Ends -

For further information / interviews / images:

Andrew Soar andrew.soar@hellounity.com 0207 440 9826

Kej Olutimayin kej@hellounity.com 0207 440 9814

Megan John megan@hellounity.com 0207 440 9823

For further information on Marks & Spencer:

Daniel Himsworth daniel.himsworth@marks-and-spencer.com 0208 718 1618

Liz Williams liz.williams@marks-and-spencer.com 0208 718 6369

Notes to editors

  • Plan A is Marks & Spencer's eco and ethical programme that aims to make M&S the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015. Launched in 2007 and extended in March 2010, it takes an holistic approach to sustainability focusing on involving customers, engaging all areas of the business and tackling issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.
  • Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty. Oxfam is working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects. Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK and Ireland and is the only charity retailer to operate a textile sorting facility, Wastesaver in Huddersfield.
  • Commissioned by Marks & Spencer, the survey was conducted online by OnePoll from the 25th to 27th September, where a total of 1,000 UK mothers (with children between the age of one and five) were polled.

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