REPORTEDLY one in five shoppers admit to buying clothes online, wearing them once just to post a selfie, and then returning them for a refund. And 35-44-year-olds (not teenagers this time!) are the worst culprits of all.
Barclaycard, that barometer of fashion intel which commissioned the new research, says this trend to ‘snap and send back’ is increasing, partly thanks to the hashtag ‘outfit of the day’ (#OOTD). Here, Instagrammers upload a picture of themselves to showcase what they’re wearing – in a bedroom, on a beach, on the streets or wherever – and the hugely popular hashtag has more than 2m posts.
I know it’s a trip down memory lane but I remember a pre-digital time that involved lusting after a particular outfit in a shop window, saving up and rushing back from the shop to put it on.
Or, picking out a fabric and pattern and sewing the dress or coat yourself. Way back when, many women were skilled home dressmakers who created beautiful garments for themselves on simple Singer sewing machines. They also sewed clothing for their families as well as curtains and other household items. And knitted and crocheted too…
Not so long ago I was chatting with a careers advisor who said the clothing industry is desperate for skilled tailors and dressmakers. But the main thing schools are offering nowadays are ‘textiles’ courses, which are more concerned with the design of fabric rather than constructing clothing.
A final thought. Apart from the environmental impact of this constant buy/return cycle – more packaging, more transport miles, more waste – how do these people have so much time for selfies? According to the latest stats from Google, 24 billion selfies were uploaded to their photo-sharing site in just one year (2016), doubtless mostly of the #OOTD variety.
Well, I can top that. I buy not just the one outfit but a complete new wardrobe every day, snap it and send it back. The IKEA delivery guys are getting really pissed off, though…
• Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Girl in the Woods,’ ‘The Girl in the Red Dress,’ ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99; £0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.