London and New York, Berlin and Copenhagen can be considered among the most eco-conscious global fashion capitals according to a ranking compiled by Arka, a US packaging specialist.

The statistics were filed collecting various data including thrift store counts, search interest in sustainable fashion, and key metrics like sustainability and recycling rates across 22 worldwide fashion capitals.

Each city was assigned a score according to a calculation that includes the number of thrift shops, searches for thrift stores, searches for sustainable clothing upon a scale from 0 to 100 for each city. Then these numbers were added to the city’s sustainability rate and recycling rate percentages to get a final score.

London tops the list as the biggest sustainable fashion hub with an index score of 309.47. Being a home to 200 thrift stores and significant online interest in sustainable clothing for search terms like “thrift stores” or “sustainable fashion”, it shows a growing tendency towards second-hand fashion. London’s notable sustainability rate of 81.65% and a high recycling rate further secure the city’s position in the ranking with the highest total index of 337.43.

Arka's statistics on most sustainable cities of the world, 2024

Arka’s statistics on most sustainable cities of the world, 2024

Slightly lower with a total index score of 337.06 is New York. The US city secures the second spot thanks to its leading online interest in sustainable fashion (885.46 against London’s 198,830 searches) by highest search volume in terms like “thrift stores”, “vintage stores near me”, “sustainable fashion”.

This high level of engagement with vintage fashion, thrift stores, and eco-friendly clothing, along with a significant number of thrift stores, positions New York prominently in the rankings.

Berlin takes the third position with a score of 197.29, highlighted by the highest recycling rate of 49.80%. With 160 thrift stores and a notable sustainability rate of 83.36%, Berlin stays at the top of the ranking.

A view of Berlin

Photo: Maria Cristina Pavarini

A view of Berlin

Copenhagen lands in fourth place with a total index of 188.08. It leads in sustainable fashion by the highest sustainability rate among the cities at 85.68%. Copenhagen’s status as a sustainable city is further supported by a considerable number of thrift stores and a strong recycling rate, making it a model for sustainable fashion practices.

Paris ranks fifth with an index score of 183.57. Paris mixes its famous fashion history, eco-friendly practices with a high number of thrift stores and an interest in sustainable fashion online. The city’s solid sustainability rate alongside its recycling efforts secures its position among the top cities for sustainable fashion.

Other positions include Stockholm claiming the sixth spot with a score of 182.03, thanks to its excellent sustainability rate of 85.98%. The city’s strong focus on sustainability is reflected in its good recycling practices and many thrift stores, making it a leading city in green fashion.

Dublin takes the seventh spot with a score of 161.09, highlighted by its strong recycling rate and numerous thrift stores. Dublin has one of the highest numbers of vintage stores at 140 and a high recycling rate, securing the city’s position on the list.

Vienna secures the eighth position with a score of 159.03. The city’s commitment to sustainable fashion is seen in its balanced sustainability and recycling rates. Vienna matches Dublin with the count of thrift stores, but has lower numbers in searches and environmental rankings, which positions the city lower in the ranking.

Edinburgh secures the ninth position with a score of 149.82. Mirroring London’s recycling rates, Edinburgh secures a place in the ranking showing growing interest in sustainability in The UK. Its lower position in the rankings is because of having fewer thrift stores and a smaller search volume for sustainable fashion compared to other cities.

Prague rounds out the top ten with an index of 138.77 due to its notable recycling and sustainability rates. Prague has the sixth-highest recycling rate but falls behind other criteria, leading it to a lower position.

“Seeing cities like London and New York, traditionally viewed as the heartbeats of global fashion, to turn more towards sustainable fashion is a big milestone in more conscious consumption over fast fashion trends,” commented a spokesperson from Arka.

“When places known for setting trends embrace eco-friendly practices, it sends a strong message about the importance of sustainable fashion, making it just as much about saving our planet as it is about showing our style,” the company added.

Arka is supplying over 2,000 clients in 950 cities with its packaging solutions using only FSC-
certified recyclable paper printed with eco-friendly and non-toxic inks. It also offers non-virgin plastic bags and compostable mailers that can biodegrade between 180 days in home compost and 12 months for industrial compost, among other sustainable products.

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