Here is why I see renting clothes as a sustainable option for my fashion consumption
Bianca is a sustainability & style content creator, whose journey began in 2012. She has worked with many brands, including Kitri, NIKE, Lily & Lionel and Label/Mix. Over the years, her love of fashion has evolved into a mission to encourage others to shop more ethically. She is our guest writer for this post, sharing with you her thoughts on fashion rental.
Fashion rental may seem like a pretty new phenomenon, but this practice has been existing for quite a while. In the US, there have been numerous rental sites offering fashion rental for years but in the UK, things only started heating up in 2020.
It has become more accessible, more attainable and definitely, more affordable. If you have been following me on Instagram for some time, you probably know what a huge advocate I am for fashion rental.
Renting everyday clothes for a month
I think back to my memories of fashion rental when I was a child, not for myself but for my mom. She would often rent gowns for various functions she would attend, but that is where the line ended, at ball gowns and tuxedos for special occasions (and the occasional fancy dress costume!).
Over the years, attitudes towards fashion rental has changed, moving away from getting a dress for a formal occasion to renting everyday pieces and there are now a number of services who offer rental options (Renoon aggregates many of them – for now only in the Netherlands, UK is coming soon) and you can rent almost anything; from knitwear, to jeans, to that cult dress of the season! The possibilities are truly endless and when you think about the cost per wear of a garment, sometimes it really does make sense to rent those beautiful pieces for a month rather than having lots of items sitting in your wardrobe never getting worn and taking up valuable space!
I for one have shifted my mindset from being afraid to be seen in the same items on repeat and believe that rewearing clothing, whether it be a permanent wardrobe piece or rented, as much as possible is the way forward.
The first time I rented a dress…
I remember the first time I rented a dress, I genuinely felt like a princess in a very over the top piece, with rainbow colours, made from layers of fabric. There was something so exciting about knowing that I had this piece for a limited amount of time, I wanted to make the most out of having something so beautiful to wear and made sure to document it. I enjoyed the time we spent together, knowing that I hadn’t made more of an impact on the environment made the experience even better.
So many more reasons why I like renting
Rental is often described as the sustainable alternative to fast fashion – it promotes slower fashion, lower consumption and the sharing economy, all of which fall under the banner of sustainability. Now I know that there are still other issues associated with rental including packaging, CO2 emissions caused by transport and the impact of chemicals used for dry cleaning on the environment, but that is for another post.
I think that the biggest reason that rental is now booming is because it provides accessibility in many forms. Firstly in cost effectiveness. If you love your designer pieces but may not necessarily be able to afford them, rental gives you the ability to try without making the commitment, both physical and financial. When you work it out, the average cost of a Ganni or Reformation dress is around £250 and you may only wear that piece a few times in a season, by renting the same dress for a month for a fraction of the cost.
Looking pretty and eco-friendly
Environmentally conscious people like us are driving the trend for fashion rental and the most notable benefit of that is that it closes the loop on fashion production. By renting pieces it means that people aren’t buying into fast fashion trends at the same pace they once were.
Finally and probably the most important reason why I advocate for fashion rental so much, is because it provides ethical shopping options to those who may not usually be able to access them. Size inclusivity is still an issue in the sustainable fashion market and with rental platforms providing multiple size options, it allows mid and plus size people the opportunity to try out styles they may not have previously been able to.
If you want to know more about Bianca’s thoughts and opinions on sustainable fashion, go check out her podcast, Sustainably Influenced, where she co-hosts with her close friend and business woman, Charlotte Williams. There, they discuss how to make ethical lifestyle choices and encourage their listeners to be more sustainable in all aspects of daily life.
With Renoon’s concept finding pieces to rent will become much easier since you can check available options from multiple websites at once.
What to read next
What is Renoon?
A new way to discover and shop fashion responsibly
Renoon is a leading app for sustainability and fashion. We connect our members with the multitude of brands and platforms to simplify and enrich the experience of combining style with sustainability values.
A destination and community launched in 2021, guiding thousands of members in their sustainability journey. Renoon is not yet another shop; it’s an entire universe of values, untold stories about sustainability and a cohesive place where intentions become reality.