Circular Fashion and Hiring Clothes
Wed 05 Feb 2020
Continuing the theme of sustainability in the fashion industry I’ve written this blog post to give you a bit of information about circular fashion and some of the fab companies available that you can hire clothes from.
Circular Fashion is a term coined by Dr Anna Brismar in 2014. Anna Brismar is the founder and owner of Green Strategy, a consultancy firm specialising in circularity and sustainability issues in the fashion, apparel and textile industry on a global scale. Circular Fashion is a concept created to minimise waste and make the most of all resources throughout the fashion industry. It challenges fashion’s linear production line that ends with clothes being discarded in landfill.
The number of garments which end up in landfill in the UK each week, according to Oxfam.
Circular Fashion ensures that every part of the life span of a garment has been considered for now and the future. Does the design of the fabric and the actual garment have longevity? Are the materials sustainable? Is the production fair and ethical (are workers and animal rights upheld)? Once an item is tired, it should then be repaired or redesigned. Then rather than being binned, it is rented, swapped or sold at second-hand retailers.
This is most certainly a process that as consumers we want the retailers to be implementing, but the manufacturing of apparel and footwear is out of our hands, so what can we do?
We can start by buying smarter, and really considering whether we actually need to be buying new at all. Choosing quality, sustainable clothes that are easy to care for is a great starting point. If we don’t need to buy new, we can hire or swap items instead. I hosted a Swap and Style event last year in our village that went down really well - there was a great buzz and excitement for everyone involved knowing that they were doing something good for the environment, but also getting themselves some ‘new’ items for their wardrobes.
By trading a shirt with a friend instead of buying new, we could save enough water for 1 person to drink for 2 and a half years
I found this quote deeply shocking - the effect the fashion industry is having on the environment is truly sad. It has really made me think about the choices I make in terms of my wardrobe. I had a black-tie ball to go to back in December, and like everyone else with an event to go to, I wanted something special to wear. I didn’t want to wear something that I already owned, but at the same time I didn’t want to be buying something brand new that I would only be wearing once. So, I looked into hiring something, which I actually found really exciting! I was able to look at more premium dresses that ordinarily I wouldn’t buy for myself due to the price tag. It felt like I was buying something new, but without the designer price tag and with less environmental impact, win-win! It’s a bit like the Airbnb of clothes.
I ended up renting a Self Portrait dress from Hurr Collective. Hurr Collective is the UK’s first peer-to-peer clothing rental service. You register with them to become a member, which is free, and then you have access to browse other members wardrobes, and you can even upload your own items for hiring. You choose the length of time that you want the item for, pay to rent it, receive it, wear and enjoy it, and then return it. You don’t even have to wash it before returning it.
A £280 dress rented for £67, a bag borrowed from a good friend and an old pair of classic strappy heels. An affordable and sustainable way to create a black-tie outfit.
There are plenty of other companies offering a similar concept.
They have a free downloadable app. There are lots of Instagram influencers on here hiring out their wardrobes at a fraction of the retail price.
The Endless Wardrobe
Unlike the peer-to-peer platforms such as Hurr Collective and By Rotation, that encourage a sense of community, The Endless Wardrobe service holds all of its items in a central location, providing different benefits. Items are available in multiple sizes and don’t come from someone’s personal wardrobe.
My Wardrobe HQ
This one is a mix of both peer-to-peer and a centralised system like The Endless Wardrobe.
They say they are a fashion rental marketplace, where you can access current and past season designers’ collections, as well as pre-loved pieces from individuals’ wardrobes on a rent and buy model.
Hire Street focus on giving customers access to premium brands at affordable prices in a sustainable way. They carry a range of brands at accessible price points, from £9 to over £100, meaning there is something for everyone.
Founded in 2018 by Rosie de Malmanche, who previously ran an online dress rental business in Australia. Lenders can make some money back on their purchases and give borrowers a chance to rent designer pieces at a fraction of the retail price. A safe and secure way to lend and borrow, cutting down on the fast fashion, throw-away culture.
On Loan was founded by two friends, Tamsin and Natalie, who have curated a platform of independent designers like Alexa Chung, Mother of Pearl, Kitri Studio, and Maggie Marilyn. It’s a subscription-based service, where you can choose to borrow 2-5 items per month, then return and receive your next personal edit.
Founded in mid 2019, Rotaro is another rental concept, this time with the benefits of a ‘try at home’ service - you can rent out multiples and return the ones that aren’t quite right for you. Garments travel carbon neutral and are packaged in recycled and biodegradable packaging.
Girl Meets Dress
With Girl Meets Dress you have two hiring options. You can hire as a guest without needing an account, with the choice of between 1-3 dresses for either 2 or 7 nights. You receive a full refund on dresses that aren’t worn. Alternatively you can become a member and have any 3 dresses on rotation all month.
So, if you have an event to go to, think twice about buying new, and have a look at some of the great dresses you can hire from one of the websites above. If this is a daunting concept for you, then I would be happy to compile some options for you, so please get in touch for more information as to how I can help. Happy hiring!
Thanks for reading this and I hope you’ve found it helpful and informative.