While still largely unknown, online clothing rental platforms offering temporary enjoyment of ready-to-wear pieces from high street brands and fashion houses are expected to explode in the months and years to come. (Shutterstock/Vershinin89)
While still largely unknown, online clothing rental platforms offering temporary enjoyment of ready-to-wear pieces from high street brands and fashion houses are expected to explode in the months and years to come, with a recent report from Technavio suggesting it is set to grow by US$ 801.03 million during the period 2019-2023.
We look at why many consumers are turning to such services.
Fast fashion vs slow fashion
How many items end up in the back of our closets without ever having been worn? Today's frenzy of ready-to-wear collections invite us, every season, to entirely rework our wardrobes. As a result, we end up with mountains of clothing we're not quite ready to give up ("one never knows...") but that ultimately we hardly wear. Hence the eternal refrain of "I've got nothing to wear!" Only the basics, those classic items which transcend seasons and trends, are truly indispensable.
This is where rental services come in. They enable users to play with the looks of the moment without needlessly filling their closets, thus limiting waste. It's also environmentally more sustainable, especially given that in this way, the manufacture of one item can end up serving dozens of individuals, leading to reduced production. It's one response to the environmental challenges confronting the fashion industry, which is one of the world's biggest polluters.
A subscription for everyone
Whether it's streetwear-focused platform Seasons; established service Rent the Runway, which offers selections from premium designer labels; Stitch Fix, which targets families; Nuuly, known for its garments with fun prints and original cuts; or services focusing on basics, workwear, athleisure, accessories or going-out attire, the number of companies proposing clothes for limited amounts of time continues to grow. While some platforms offer rental for individual items, others have created monthly subscription services which allow for an unlimited number. They often include services such as round-trip shipping, dry cleaning, and reimbursement for unworn items. It's a whole new playground for those who love to frequently change up their looks without going bankrupt.
Luxury for everyone
Not only do clothing rental services allow you to follow the trends without upsetting your banker, they also allow you to enjoy designer items that may be unaffordable otherwise. At Une Robe Un Soir, a French company shipping to other countries in Europe, it's possible to rent a handbag or clutch from Saint Laurent for 4 days for less than €150, Aurélie Bidermann earrings for less than €135, or an Isabel Marant dress for less that €170. This can eventually add up to a generous budget, but it's very far from boutique prices, allowing access to pieces that are sometimes the reserve of much wealthier fashionistas.
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