Clothing is one of the necessities, but most clothes purchased are for fun and fashion, not everyday survival. America’s consumer society saw growth in clothing consumption from about 40 garments per American per year in 1990, to almost 70 after 2000. And then, it flattened. Clothing consumption may be high, but it may have finally reached a plateau. Minimalism is a new fashion. The Internet Bubble and the Great Recession made people revise their spending habits. At the same time, clothing costs are down, which would usually encourage more, not less, consumption. The plateau happening while costs drop suggests that, at least in one industry, consumer consumption is no longer extrapolating every upwards. That’s good news for personal finances, planetary resources, and waste management. It may not be good for clothiers, however.
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