How does clothing rental work?
How Does Clothing Rental Work?
In this blog we look at what clothing rental is, how its evolved, and why it is needed now more than ever.
Fashion's impact on the environment
Fashion’s impact on the environment is greater than we could have ever imagined.
Our increased consumption of fashion has led to problems ranging from the overconsumption of water and increased greenhouse gas emissions to mountains of textile waste going to landfill.
By some estimates, the fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% of global CO2 emissions, 20% of the world’s industrial wastewater, 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides use.
The conditions in which clothes are made are often awful - with unfair wages, unreasonable hours and child labour rife. As brands compete for the lowest prices, their ethics, and simple humanity, slips. The Rana Plaza factory collapse, in 2013, where 1,134 garment workers were killed and thousands more were injured was one of the most harrowing days for the fashion community. Yet many brands still choose to compromise peoples health and safety in order to sell even more clothes.
Since 2000 global clothes production has more than doubled, thanks to our increased appetite for fast fashion. Fast fashion encourages us to constantly make new purchases. The world now consumes more than 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year. The average consumer today purchases 60% more clothing than 20 years ago. Each garment is kept half as long, and about 40% of clothes in the wardrobes of developed countries are never worn.
Because the fashion industry is one of the most polluting, there is great hope that, if we turn it around, we can make a massive positive environmental difference. Sustainable fashion is a huge force for change.
Clothes are massively underutilised. Worldwide, clothing utilisation – the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used – has decreased by 36% compared to just 15 years ago. In fact recent figures show one rubbish truck of textiles is thrown away every second, globally.
Sustainable fashion looks to increase clothes utilisation. These are our favourite ways to do this:
Pop over to your local tailors or launderette to repair your worn and torn clothes, or even grab a needle and thread and give it a try yourself!
Inspirational activewear brand Patagonia have always stuck to their environmental values. As well as committing 1% of sales to support environmental organisations around the world, they now even encourage their customers to repair their items rather than buying new through their Worn Wear scheme.
Rental gives you access to the clothes you want right when you want them. Renting clothes is a great way to inject newness into your wardrobe whilst being sustainable.
What is clothing rental?
Clothing rental is seen by many as the future of fashion. It gives us access to the clothes we want, right as we need them, whilst also reducing waste and extending the lifespan of garments.
Men have been renting their wedding suits for decades. Now a new breed of companies have launched that let you rent any clothes you need from designer dresses to babygrows.
Why rent clothes?
Clothing rental is a zero waste approach to fashion, which goes against the throwaway culture and facilitates the reuse of garments.
Renting clothes has many benefits:
Renting increases clothes utilisation and extends their lifespan beyond just one person. Renting just one garment can save thousands of litres of water and kilograms of carbon dioxide from being emitted.
Renting gives you access to the clothes you need, right as you need them.
You can rent high quality clothes at much more affordable prices than buying.
Once you are done with the clothes, easily return them to your rental service for a clutter free home.
Clothing rental companies
In the UK, the numbers of clothing rental companies are growing, and you can practically find anything you want to rent:
Wear the Walk offers monthly subscriptions to rent designer womenswear.
Hire Street rents party and occasion wear from the high street.
Moss Bros offers mens suit hire for special occasions.
Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is a designer womenswear rental service founded in 2008. They call themselves ‘your closet in the cloud’ and now have millions of women renting clothes across the US.
They are a prime example of a successful clothing rental company that has inspired many to make the sustainable switch to renting.
Baby clothing rental
In their first two years babies will outgrow 7 clothing sizes. Often clothes can only worn a handful of times before they are outgrown. This leads to lots of clothing waste.
By renting baby clothes you reduce the production levels and extend the lifespan of the clothes beyond just one baby.
The Danish baby clothing rental service, Vigga, has been running since 2014. Since then over 3,000 parents in Denmark have tried renting baby clothes.
Renting baby clothes in the UK with Bundlee
Research released by Hubbub and Mothercare revealed that UK homes are crammed full of 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing with 7 in 10 parents saying that they are storing outgrown baby clothing that they are unlikely to use again. The research also found that a third of parents had thrown wearable baby clothes in the bin .
Bundlee is the UK’s number 1 baby clothing rental service. We wanted to create a sustainable and convenient way for parents to access clothes for their growing baby.
Switching to renting baby clothes with Bundlee saves over 40,000 litres of water and 100kg of carbon dioxide, with every bundlee rented. We believe that together, families can create a sustainable future.
Although in can be overwhelming looking at the environmental problems that come with fashion, things are changing for the better. As consumers, each of us has power to make a difference in the consumption decisions we make. You can use your power to support sustainable brands who are doing good, and create the kind of world you want your children to live in.
We would love to hear what sustainable fashion choices you are making in the comments below.