How Keen Are You To Rent Instead of Buying Clothes?
Times are changing and with a greater focus on the circular economy in order to reduce the waste modern society generates, the idea of reusing and repurposing products is gaining momentum, particularly ‘no ownership’ in terms of clothing.
Whether you call it borrowing, leasing or renting, the idea of not having to own the clothing you wear has come a long way. Sure, historically it’s not really been an option beyond renting a tuxedo or a designer dress, but these services are becoming as natural as tapping for an Uber and the focus is on everyday wear as well, instead of only reserved for special occasions.
From YCloset in Asia to Rent The Runway in the US and Girl Meets Dress in the UK, as well as offering one-off rentals, they now offer customers subscription packages that allow them to have several garments at a time for a flat monthly fee.
There’s no denying these services are targeting the fast-fashion daily wear market, as the pieces on these sites tend to be of higher quality, designer items that are less trend driven. In fact, Rent the Runway’s CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman has been explicit about her ambition to “put H&M and Zara out of business”.
We are starting to see a shift towards people embracing the idea that you don’t need to own every piece of clothing.
Is fashion rental about to go mainstream and are you on board? If it means disrupting the current trend towards ever more disposable fashion and help reduce the environmental impact of one of the most resource intensive industries, we’re all aboard!
Image courtesy: Racked | Rent The Runway Warehouse
That being said, there will always be those who really like new stuff, and the desire to buy and own clothes is a natural draw. They’ve most likely happily embraced other parts of the sharing economy and can do their part by investing in sustainable and ethical fashion labels instead.
Of course it’s our love of buying new stuff that’s made fashion one of the most environmentally damaging industries, but we can mitigate this by supporting fashion brands that are shifting towards more circular process of resource use, reducing waste, and reusing resources more.
We’ve also got to move away from the Instagram trend of wear once and throw away to landfill or dump in the back of your wardrobe. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has calculated that if you’re able to double the number of times you wear a garment, you decrease its environmental footprint by 44%.
Plus, as clothing rental companies make bigger profits the more times they can rent out a garment, a shift to renting also implies a shift to clothing that is better made and longer wearing – another step towards a more sustainable fashion industry and hopefully contribute to a change in the way we consume clothes.