Christmas jumper lovers urged to upcycle to save money and the environment

According to new estimates from Love Your Clothes, UK consumers are likely to spend in excess of £300 million on Christmas jumpers this year. New research from the consumer campaign has revealed that over ten million people are likely to buy a Christmas jumper and 40% of Christmas jumper wearers plan on wearing them just once or twice this festive season. Love Your Clothes is launching a 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition to inspire people to upcycle a pre-loved jumper as an alternative to buying a new one.

And those consumers that don’t feel that handy with a needle and thread are being encouraged to consider buying a pre-loved Christmas jumper or swap and share last year’s with friends and family instead.

The clothing industry has the fifth-biggest environmental footprint of any UK industry. Upcycling an old jumper gives it a new festive lease of life. It is a great way of keeping clothes in use for longer offering a significant opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of clothing. Extending the length of time we wear clothes by just three months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in their carbon, water and waste footprints.

The new research from Love Your Clothes revealed that over seven million people across the UK would currently consider decorating their own jumper to make it festive. To encourage more budding stylists, the consumer campaign is offering tips and tutorials on their website: loveyourclothes.org.uk/12jumpers/ and will publicise the top 12 creations in December. A Janome sewing machine will be awarded to the best design with subscriptions to Simply Sewing and Reloved magazines up for grabs for runners up.

To enter, people just need to either decorate a jumper or cardigan they already have, or a pre-loved one (e.g. from a charity shop), so it can be worn instead of purchasing a new Christmas jumper. It can be for adults or children and should feature a creative Christmas theme. It also needs to be washable and designed so the decorations can be easily removed after it has been worn so it can continue to be used after Christmas. The designs will be judged by the Love Your Clothes team based on creativity, what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used (extra points are available for incorporating re-used materials).

Sarah Clayton, Head of Clothing at WRAP, the organisation behind the Love Your Clothes campaign, said:

“We are really excited to be launching our 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition and hope it will inspire lots of people to get upcycling. With most Christmas jumpers being worn only a handful of times over the festive season, transforming an existing jumper into a one-off Christmas master piece is a great way of adding some ‘green’ style to your wardrobe this Christmas, and saving some cash at the same time.

“We know that the average lifetime of clothes is just over two years. Entering the 12 Jumpers competition is a great way for people to extend the lifetime of their old jumpers and make a jumper last for life not just for Christmas!”

Love Your Clothes recognises that buying a Christmas Jumper is often in response to charity fundraising appeals but would urge people to jazz up a jumper and make a charitable donation with the money they’ve saved to their chosen cause instead.

Competition entrants should submit a good quality colour photograph (at least 72 dpi resolution) of their jumper plus a description of what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used by e-mail to: loveyourclothes@wrap.org.uk with the subject ‘12 Jumpers of Christmas Competition’ in the e-mail title by 10 am on Monday 7th December.

We’ll be sharing top tips on Christmas jumpers and loving your clothes throughout November and December. Join in the fun by visiting loveyourclothes.org.uk/12jumpers/and following us on Twitter @loveyourclothes and #12jumpers.