Many garments have short life-spans, contributing to excessive carbon emissions, water consumption and waste. This paper reports on a research project which aimed to identify expectations of clothing longevity, examine the NPD process within the supply chain and identify opportunities for change, evaluate the potential for innovative technologies and improved product testing, and explore business practices aimed at more sustainable approaches to NPD. The paper provides an overview of the two-year project, presenting key findings from data collection that included interviews with 31 industry practitioners, three consumer focus groups, three industry and consumer round tables, an expert workshop, and four pilot actions undertaken with UK clothing retailers to evaluate key issues. The research identified and explored themes relating to NPD that could enable increased garment lifetimes, which were consolidated into six areas: the adoption of advanced textile processes and finishing techniques, action to overcome constraints on appropriate product testing, the potential for retailers to influence consumer behaviour, a loss of technical expertise and lack of multi-disciplinary collaboration, failure to embed good practice early in the NPD process, and evidence to encourage retailers and brands to adopt new business models. Industry and government policy recommendations were proposed to improve knowledge-sharing, strengthen the business case and influence consumer behaviour, while further research may be needed on the adoption of new garment and textile technologies, the business case and the global context of the clothing industry.
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