I’m first and foremost a champion of creating fashion shopping habits that support a more sustainable way of life, habits we can keep up without being too damaging to this planet we all love.Because of this, I’m always on the lookout for the best practices, ways to shop that can lower the impact of fast fashion in our lives. While that includes “newer” practices such as shopping for sustainable clothing, there’s also a lot to say about the revival of age-old practices like fashion rental. Fashion rental is hardly new, but it does get some flack pop culture-wise: there’s an old trope, particularly on American TV and film, of young kids renting out bright and inexpensive fashion pieces for big events like proms and weddings. It’s an old stereotype and one that hardly adjusts to reality, particularly with the huge current movement in this part of the industry. Nowadays, renting fashion can be a vehicle to try out different looks at fairly accessible prices, but also taking a step towards a more sustainable fashion industry. The range and style of pieces you can find is extremely wide, from vintage designer clothing to newer collections from exciting and conscious designers, all with varying price tags.
Photographer: Jose Perez. Wearing Jason Wu, rented from Albright Fashion Library
We all know that fast fashion is problematic: discarded textiles contribute tons of waste every year, and the pervasive idea that clothes are a temporary commodity may be the birth of a chain of events that nearly always ends up in landfills. Every season, the arrival of new collections mean that the previous ones get left behind, immediately less perceived as being less desirable and, hence turning into waste.
With an increasing number of people looking to live sustainably, clothes rental is steadily becoming a feasible option, particularly when dressing for one-off events. There’s a long tradition of purchasing clothing items for one big outing and then leaving them to gather dust at the back of the closet. We don’t want to be seen in the same special outfit more than once and find no use for it after taking it out for a spin. It’s the kind of scenario that makes fashion rental thrive.