The Fashion Detox Challenge is a collaboration between ex-fashion designer and researcher Dr. Emma Kidd and the sustainability team at Glasgow Caledonian University.

In 2021 the United Nations selected the Fashion Detox Challenge as a ‘Best Practice’ for the Sustainable Development Goals.

This 10-week public challenge was set up by Dr. Emma Kidd as part of her research into Transitions in Clothing Consumption and after witnessing first-hand, as a fashion designer in South East Asia, the social and environmental impacts of fast fashion.  The video below summarises her journey.

The Fashion Detox Challenge invites people who usually buy clothing often to stop buying clothes for 10 weeks and to reflect on this process online in a private forum on our website, where they post weekly ‘Detox Diaries’.

This 10-week challenge was inspired by a research studycarried out in the US from data gathered in 2012 and 2013 where approximately 100 undergraduate Fashion students were asked to not buy clothing for a whole trimester and to write a blog post every week in return for extra credits. When reading this study Emma was so surprised at how quickly the undergraduate fashion students were able to identify the barriers to more sustainable fashion consumption and how rapidly they developed new, more creative, sustainable behaviours that she decided to experiment with a similar intervention in Scotland. Since the project launched in February 2019, we have created a website where people from all over the world can join the 10-week challenge, at any time they choose.

Through engaging with this challenge, people are offered a rare opportunity to stop and gain a new perspective on their relationship with clothing, shopping and spending money. Participating in the challenge interrupts the flow of automatic thoughts and behaviours relating to consumption, which gives the person access to new, more sustainable long-term choices.

The private forum is designed to support participants by fostering a sense of belonging and providing a mechanism for mutual support.

No existing knowledge or awareness of sustainability is necessary, which means that the challenge is inclusive and easily accessible.

In 2020 Emma’s research on the Fashion Detox Challenge won the Best Research in Sustainability Award at the Global Fashion Conference. Read the conference paper with key findings from the research here

In 2021 the United Nations selected the Fashion Detox Challenge as a ‘Best Practice’ for the Sustainable Development Goals.