Would you consider hiring a one off garment? How about renting clothes that you’re not wearing?
My interest in this area has peaked recently as a few announcements caught my eye. Renting out clothes, accessories and hiring garments to others is becoming a growing market.
People have become more aware of the impact to the environment of ‘fast fashion’ and sustainability isn’t just a buzz word. Action is being taken and there’s some interesting results.
The high street retailer announced recently a free 24 hour suit hire for men under their new scheme: One/Second/Suit.
The initiative offers customers a single breasted navy jacket and matching trousers, a white shirt, a navy tie and red handkerchief.
This is a particularly pertinent initiative with people returning to work. Many are also facing the prospect of interviews. Frankly, I think it’s a fantastic idea as people don’t necessarily want to, or can afford to spend money on garments they’re unlikely to wear regularly. I saw first hand how young people could benefit when I worked with The Princes Trust a couple of years ago.
If you know anyone who could benefit from the initiative, send them the details here: https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/men/shop-by-feature/3022-one-second-suit.html
Wedding dress hire
It’s not unusual for the groom, ushers and groomsmen to hire their suits of course, but rarely do you hear of brides doing the same.
Carrie Symonds married Boris Johnson on 30 May and was reported to have hired her dress for the big day. I’m impressed at such a move and financially, it’s rather clever. She paid a fraction of the price for her designer dress which now won’t remain tucked in a box or hung up in her wardrobe.
There are various rental marketplaces which exist here in the U.K. Many may have begun with occasion wear, or even designer bags but now, it’s much more. You can manage the transaction yourself by renting out your garments to someone wishing to hire them and agreeing the price. Other sites will manage the process for you including cleaning and delivery and taking a percentage of the rental fees.
This isn’t fancy dress hire either. This could be anything right up to high end designer bags, shoes and clothes for one day or weeks at a time.
The impact of Fashion
I say it all the same to clients: fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. Fashion is one of the biggest pollutants using non-renewable resources. I read an article on the bbc.com website stating: “fashion sucks up more energy than both aviation and shipping combined”.
Fast fashion is essentially mass produced garments sold for a low cost and because of the low cost, it’s easier to keep buying more. How many times have you bought another top or another pair of jeans even though you didn’t need them? One problem is that many of these garments end up unworn and thrown away to landfill.
A great book to read is Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas which was published a couple of years ago. The statistics are staggering:
– 100 billion garments are produced every year
– The average shopper was buying 68 items of clothing a year
– 20% of all items go unsold
– Less than 2% of workers in the clothing industry were earning the living wage
– 1 t-shirt and a pair of jeans uses 5,000 gallons of water
Make-do and mend
When I was younger, me and my friends used to have clothes swap parties. It was a great way to refresh your wardrobe and feel like you had something new to wear without buying and we would regularly switch things up.
Repurposing what you have or repairing it can extend a garment’s life but that only really works for you if you’re very creative or skilled so I understand that it’s not for everyone.
Donating is another way of extending the life of garments too. Charities are in need of support and the shops have a fantastic array of clothes at a fraction of the original cost and still be new to you.
Of course, why not help someone and make a little money for yourself by selling them on one of the many resale sites. eBay, vinted, debop and Facebook marketplace are all methods of selling on clothes rather than sending them to landfill.
Love your clothes launched in 2014 as a campaign to reduce the environmental impact of clothing across the U.K. They have some great tips for caring, repairing and upcycling your garments. Visit www.loveyourclothes.org.uk
One of the easiest ways of reducing the impact of fashion on the environment is to buy less and wear more of your clothes. During lockdown, many people found they hardly wore their clothes. Some even stopped fitting! And many decluttered their wardrobe. There was a surge in the number of people who downloaded the five steps to spring clean your wardrobe guide from the website too.
Just take a look in your wardrobe and assess how many clothes you have that you hardly wear, if at all. Maybe someone else can benefit from them and love them like you no longer can?