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Features

Hirestreet: Renting an outfit is the height of fashion

 

On Saturday we were reading the weeekend papers and were happy to see a Girl Meets Dress mention in the Times by writer Elizabeth Burden…

“The white-tie balls at Oxford University are famous for their excess: students who have worked hard for the exams let their hair down, quaff champagne and dance until dawn.

It was among such glamorous crowds that Isabella West was struck by an idea for a fashion businessMs West, 26, started Hirestreet, a dress lending service, after having to swap ball gowns with friends before stylish events at Lady Margaret Hall college. “There were ten dresses among our friends but they always ended up on a different girl,” she said. “One dress worked for ten events.” The business that she set up last year allows customers to rent an outfit for between 4 and 16 days, at a fifth of the cost of buying it…”

July 20 2019, 12:01am,
The Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hirestreet-renting-an-outfit-is-the-height-of-fashion-sdnmwpvtq


The Times, Editor’s Letter: HOW TO BUY LESS AND SHOP BETTER

 

This weekend we loved the Times Editor’s letter by Lorraine Candy.

“There are easy things we can do to be more mindful with our purchases”

She mentioned Girl Meets Dress as a way to borrow the fashi0n you are happy to wear one off…

There are also great rental sites such as Girl Meets Dress, HireStreet and My Wardrobe HQ for one-off pieces you borrow and return.

“I had lunch with Stella McCartney recently. Normally I’d slightly dread a one-to-one with Stella, even though I’ve known her for years and love being in her company (we’ve had some good nights out), as I always feel a bit guilty when I meet her. The sheer commitment and determination of this woman to making us think about what we wear and where it comes from, to consider our sustainability footprint every day is impressive, and I somehow feel disappointed in myself for not caring as much as she does about the planet we should treasure. I hate turning up to our meets without news of something good happening to support her consistent and effective fashion crusade. But this time…”

Continue reading > https://www.thetimes.co.uk/magazine/style/editor-s-letter-how-to-buy-less-and-shop-better-72q3pq6l3

 

 


Clothing rental could be the key to a stylishly sustainable fashion industry

This article written by Naomi Braithwaite, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Marketing and Branding, Nottingham Trent University outlines why renting clothes is a growing trend for retailers.

Read the whole feature below or click here > http://theconversation.com/clothing-rental-could-be-the-key-to-a-stylishly-sustainable-fashion-industry-100106

“A staggering 235m items of unwanted clothing were forecast to be dumped in UK landfill in 2017, while the average American is estimated to bin 81lb (37kg) of used clothing annually. Overconsumption and the inevitable disposal of unwanted clothing has become a worrying global problem – and in many cases, this clothing is unnecessarily thrown away. Instead, it could be repaired or recycled.

Filling landfill with clothing and textiles costs the UK alone an estimated £82m every year. But on the flip side, the consumption of clothing is hugely important to the economies of many countries, too. Research from The British Fashion Council, for example, found that fashion contributes £28 billion directly to the UK economy – and globally, it is a US$2.4 trillion industry.

Despite this, materialistic values and a widespread desire for having new things, twinned with fashion’s premise to create – and sell – different styles, has reduced the functional value of clothing, making it easily disposable. A staggering 100 billion items of clothing are being produced annually, and 50% of fast fashion pieces are disposed of within a year.

In fact, recent figures show that one rubbish truck of textiles is thrown away every second globally. Little wonder, then, that fashion has been dubbed “incredibly wasteful” – even by insiders.

The problem with fashion
Fashion and sustainability have historically had an uncomfortable relationship. The 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, along with growing concerns over sweatshop labour, have seen fashion companies overhaul their social and environmental impacts. Consumers, meanwhile, have grown increasingly concerned about where and how garments are made. But while fashion takes strides to become ethical, there are still serious concerns over its environmental impact and contribution to climate change.

Fashion is deemed to be one of the world’s most polluting industries – from toxic chemical use to water pollution and waste. Some 35% of the global total of microfibres in the oceans comes from clothes and textiles, meaning fashion is a major contributor to this pollution. By 2050, it is anticipated, the fashion industry will use up 25% of the world’s carbon budget.

So what’s the solution? A circular economy seeks to move beyond fashion’s linear model of take, make and waste, to close the loop, designing out waste and minimising environmental impacts. While fashion brands work to limit their polluting practices through the creation of organic, environmentally conscious collections, there is still a need to limit the sheer volume of waste that fashion creates.

Recycling has become an important initiative to address this. H&M, for example, has a successful garment collection scheme, repurposing their consumers’ unwanted clothing. Other brands, meanwhile, are using recycled materials to create clothing. Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has made polyester fleece out of recycled plastic bottles.

While recycling could achieve circulatory by designing out waste, it is problematic environmentally. Recycling is energy intensive and may require use of further virgin materials. Additionally, while it resolves some of fashion’s sustainability issues, it does not adequately address the problem that consumers buy too much, and that the average number of times a garment is worn has declined by 36% since 2000. We must reconsider how fashion is sold, encouraging consumers to waste less, and ensure that garments have a longer life span.

Are rentals the future?
WRAP, the UK’s resource efficiency agency, has identified leasing as an innovative business model that gives clothes a longer service life, while reducing material use and carbon dioxide emissions. A recent survey conducted by Westfield Shopping Centre in London also proposed that clothing rental would become a key future trend.

The possible value of the clothing rental market in the UK is predicted to be £923m and the model is already well-established for certain items, such as dinner jackets and wedding suits for men. Despite this, there are currently just a handful of fashion companies that have adopted a leasing model. At Mud Jeans, for example, consumers can lease a pair of organic jeans, and after a year can keep, swap or return them. Girls Meets Dress, meanwhile, was founded in the UK in 2009, under the ethos that in a sharing economy ownership will become obsolete.

In America, Rent the Runway has become a significant player in the fashion industry. These companies are built on change, but undoubtedly they face the challenges of the traditional sales-driven fashion system, along with consumer hesitation.

Our research has explored the potential for clothing rental among consumers. While we found there were opportunities certainly at the luxury end of the market, there was a definite resistance to rental of lower priced items, which were just too easy to buy.

If consumers are to engage, rentals need to be convenient, cheap, accessible and fulfil the desire for having something new. Consumers are open to change and leasing could help achieve a more circular fashion industry. However, there are issues to consider from transportation through to dry cleaning impacts. Clothing rental has the potential to reduce waste and increase the lifespan of garments, but to achieve a more sustainable industry a systemic change in business practice and consumer behaviour is needed.”


Britons will spend more than £2.7 billion this year on 50 million summer outfits that will be only worn once, thanks to holidays, weddings and festivals.

Thanks to holidays, weddings and festivals, Britons will spend more than £2.7 billion this year on 50 million summer outfits that will be only worn once.

According to recent research carried out by Censuswide for the charity Barnardo’s one of they biggest expenses is due to new clothing for holidays, where consumers splash out more than £700m on 11m items bought for their getaway that will never be worn again.

Wedding guests spend on average £79.76 on a new outfit for the day, buying nearly 10 million pieces that will only be worn once.

That’s why wedding guest dress hire is our biggest category! We see a growing demand from our customers wanting the fun and flexibility of wearing a dress to a wedding and not worrying about wearing it once, when it stays in the wardrobe unworn after that!
The surveys highlights that one in four people (25%) is embarrassed to wear an outfit to a special occasion more than once, rising to 37% of 16 to 24-year-olds, with the children’s charity suggesting that “this needs to change”. It is another example of the huge environmental and financial impact of fast or throwaway fashion, making fashion the second most polluting industry in the world. This is one of the growing concerns that the industry is wasting valuable resources and contributing to the climate crisis. It is urging shoppers to consider second-hand clothing rather than only buying new outfits.

In response, Barnardo’s is launching an in-store booklet with tips on finding and styling occasion wear from its shops. It is also releasing a short film with tips from experts on sustainable fashion.

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, said: “Choosing to buy ‘pre-loved’ clothes for a special occasion means you don’t have to worry about bumping into someone wearing the same outfit.

It is also kinder to the environment and your wallet, getting more wear out of clothes which might otherwise only be worn once and end up in landfill.”

Girl Meets Dress gives all women access to easily wear relevant, trend led, time-sensitive fashions, while continuing to invest and buy only in those classic pieces which will stand the test of time. Designer clothing is expensive and a notoriously poor long term investment and it can lead to a wardrobe full of things you never wear but spent too much on to give away en masse — and the cycle perpetuates. But Girl Meets Dress made it accessible and sustainable.

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