Subscribing to fashion libraries saves money and jibes out waste

Stylist Alize Demange at the launch of The Drop, the UK’s oldest ever streetwear rental retail pop-up, at Westfield in Stratford, east London.
Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA

With the on offers in full swing and festive soirees dominating social annals, fast fashion is showing few signs of slowing down. But for those consumers with diverse parties than pounds, fashion libraries – where gears can be rented rather than bought – are becoming increasingly commonplace.

“I don’t have the financial income to invest in high quality but I do requirement to change my style regularly,” said Zoe Partridge, founder of rental checking Wear the Walk, which launched last year. “So my mind-boggler was either to invest every six months in a luxury item or to buy sets of fast fashion. There was no middle ground. I wanted to dream up that.”

As the party season continues, the appeal of borrowing in place of of buying is on the rise. It allow partygoers to wear items that may be beyond their customary budget and means they aren’t under pressure to utilization them to every possible occasion in order to feel they are win over geting their money’s worth.

Fashion libraries allow drugs to check out clothes, wear them for a set period, then exchange them to the library (where dry-cleaning is usually taken meticulousness of) in exchange for something new. Some also offer the option to buy – supreme if it turns out you can’t bear to say goodbye to the item after all.

“We realise the gravamen and commitment that come with ownership and the freedom that assault with using what we really gain value from, when we wish it,” said Sara Arnold, founder of subscription-only rental utility Higher Studio, which launched in April. “It comes down to re-evaluating what we crave from our fashion objects.”

Websites such as Girl Propers Dress, above, offer the chance to rent designer upping at a low cost.

Renting clothes is not a new concept: high-priced items spent for a single occasion, such as a prom night or a wedding, be subjected to long been available for hire. Sites such as Appearance Row and Girl Meets Dress offer designer items at a low outlay – the latter specialising in dresses and catering for events such as get a move ons, premieres and awards. But subscription services, which offer long-term obtaining on everyday items, are beginning to gain traction.

Westfield shopping mid-point in Stratford, east London, launched the first streetwear appoint pop-up store, The Drop, earlier this month, gift items for hire (starting at just £10 for four or seven primes). It focused on streetwear styles – trainers topped the list of the most-coveted matter on show – rather than just dresses. Available rags also included a Maharishi tiger-style tour jacket (good £750 new) and a Dirty South padded jacket (worth £210).

The rage for renting clothes also has the scope to tackle other fashions of “throwaway” fashion: for example, the US-based subscription service Le Tote invites drugs to choose from classic or maternity ranges. For pregnant cleaning women, the fact that clothes will only be worn for a discourteous period is perhaps more easily understood than it is for those of us who vow to don something for years because it cost the same as a month’s lease.

But is rentable fashion bad news for designers? Not necessarily, according to Arnold. “We don’t own the commonplace but split the earnings with the brands when items are rented,” she intended. “We want them to be able to earn from quality and durability instead than the quantity sold.”

With UK households sending 300,000 tonnes of the craze waste to landfill each year, and the average number of stretches a garment is worn before it is retired dropping by 36% in the lifestyle 15 years, fashion libraries offer an ethical elucidation.

According to research by Westfield, seven out of 10 UK shoppers force pay to rent “the hottest fashion item of the moment”. For 33% of them, the lure of renting clothes lay in saving money, while one in eight were influenced by the desire to shop in a more sustainable way.

It’s not just in the UK that shoppers are devoted to maximise wardrobe space. At Lena fashion library in Amsterdam, underwritings allocate customers points that can then be “spent” on feeing new and vintage clothes, alongside the option to buy. In Gothenburg, Sweden, look library Klädoteket offers lease periods of up to three months – 450kr (£40) for two notes, 650kr (£57) for four. Items range from sequin clothes to baseball caps and, if customers decide they want to own an mention they are renting, they will be given 15% off the retail payment.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Fresh Fashion Library offers one of the ton budget-friendly options: $30 (£17.50) per month membership allows fellows to borrow three items for an unlimited lease period. Which absconds scouring the sales for something to see in the new year – and then never drag it again.

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