Will renting clothes be the next big thing in fashion?
The idea of renting clothes might seem strange to some, but it’s certainly not unheard of.
Weddings, formal occasions, a fancy-dress party… people hire clothes for these occasions all the time. But now people are talking about renting clothes instead of buying them, and not just for special events.
Where is this trend coming from?
And is it a flash in the pan for a small minority, or will renting clothes become the norm?
The drive towards a circular economy
We’ve talked before about how “Fast Fashion” is disastrous for the environment, and for those who are concerned about sustainability, an alternative is desperately needed.
The drive by many fashion designers towards sustainability is towards a longer-lasting wardrobe; buying clothes which will last for years, if not decades.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always affordable for people, while for fashionistas, wearing the same thing over and over doesn’t appeal to their sense of style.
But something has to change!
The latest findings suggest that 35% of microplastics in the ocean come from textiles, and it’s estimated that by 2050 the fashion industry will use up 25% of the world’s carbon budget.
At present, 300,000 tonnes of clothes are being discarded in landfills each year, with the average American discarding 40 kilos of used clothing annually.
The damage from discarded clothes is the end result of a process which damages the environment from the very start.
Every aspect of the process pollutes the environment in some way.
Textile mills generate 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution and use 20,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, to make clothes.
Spinning leads to plastics in our oceans, while traditional dying methods use an enormous amount of fresh water, with 10,000 litres needed to make a single pair of jeans.
Add to that the packaging and shipping, and you begin to realise why the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
Clothes made through the Fast Fashion phenomenon aren’t made to last. They’re cheaply made, cheaply sold, and cheaply discarded.
The whole idea behind Fast Fashion is to wear the garments two or three times and then throw them away.
This is where renting makes more sense.
Many business have sprung up over the last few years offering customers the choice of “it” dresses, which would only be fashionable for one season.
This way, one dress can be rented and worn by dozens of people, stopping each person from buying it themselves.
With a recent study showing that half of young women polled said they felt the need to wear a different look every time they went out, renting clothes might just be the answer to the Fast Fashion problem.
Not only can renting clothes be better for the environment, but consumers can also save money, open up space in their home, and fulfil temporary fashions or issues, such as clothing for women during pregnancy or when the weather changes.
The future is there for the taking
Renting clothes is much more developed in the United States where it’s worth about $4 Billion a year, but it’s still in its infancy elsewhere in the world.
The US market leader Rent the Runway has been operating since 2009 and offers users unlimited rentals for a regular monthly subscription of $159USD.
In the UK Girl Meets Dress, My Wardrobe HQ, Wear the Walk, and Front Row have all started renting clothes for a monthly fee, for which subscribers can have unlimited dress hires.
In New Zealand, All The Dresses, Oh Rent Me, and Rent the Label are the only real options for renting clothes presently but that will certainly change as we move towards a more environmentally conscious society.
Whatever the future holds, you can be a part of it with our help.
No matter what lies ahead, immago will be here, working together with our clients, manufacturers and distributors to ensure a fair and sustainable practice for everyone.
Contact us today if you have any questions about what the future of the fashion industry might hold and how we can help. Our friendly and experienced staff will be happy to help in any way they can.