Renting out your wardrobe?!

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I often get asked, how about renting out your wardrobe?!

Eek, I say someone else wearing my clothes!?  Sharing my clothes with dozens of strangers… wearing a dress after someone else had possibly sweat in it or spilled on it?

‘Fashion’s Sharing Economy’ is really catching on, it’s getting bigger in the US.  We of course have the consignment shops where you sell & buy your good quality pre-loved clothes but now in other parts of the World there are rental services.  It could also be a low-cost way to try before you buy.  There are websites that you can subscribe to and get unlimited access to as many items you want… this could be treated as an Unlimited Wardrobe.

Some ladies will on their way to work walk past the Bricks and Mortar rental shops and pick up their work outfit for the day, return the next day with the outfit and the process repeats.  Other women rely on this for their weekend wear.  Picture ladies that wear a uniform all the time and rarely go out but every now and then on a Saturday night she can experiment with statement pieces by renting her outfit, displaying her individuality which is sometimes taken away when wearing a uniform.

Clearly this market exists.  There are still skeptics, particularly within the fashion industry but in a way this already exists to a smaller extent…    Many of the clothes you see in street-style photos, are, in fact borrowed.  Editors, Stylists (yep, that’s me), Affiliates, Brand Ambassadors are accustomed to wearing runway samples to Events and I can guarantee no one asks if someone else has worn it first?  Celebrities don’t often buy their evening gowns for the red carpet – they borrow them from houses then often return them to the house’s archives.  In some ways, rental services are bringing that ultra-exclusive perk to the masses.  Look at it this way… I’m sure we can all agree that a dress/sweater/jacket or whatever never feels as good as the first time you wear it, and when you’ve rented it – or purchased it secondhand – you get the added satisfaction of not paying the full price.

Look at the success of AirBnb, if you’re willing to rent out your home and the most intimate place in your home – your bed – and other people are willing to sleep in your bed, on your pillow or sometimes they’re even in the same house, I think people are ready to borrow a jacket.

In some people’s lives just about everything is shared.  Look at social media, you could even know what a complete stranger or your best friend did last Saturday night or what their favourite restaurant is, plus all the highlights of their year.  These days not many can fathom going on an amazing holiday or work trip without posting about it and sharing it with ‘their friends’ and beyond.  PLUS if you’re documenting every moment of your life maybe you need to wear something different in every photo.

On websites overseas the items that get continuously rented out are the statement pieces, the bold pieces with a difference.  Women still tend to invest in their basics like jeans, slips, under garments, sweaters but will rent the fashion forward pieces that maybe only get worn once or twice.
I think more and more we will find the younger generation doing this.  Teenagers rooms are often full of clothes that don’t belong to them, often their Mum’s but also their friends.. they tend to swap or trade their clothes with their peers.

Time and time again I go into wardrobes and find clothes with tags on them, never worn, or items that people have tried and tried to wear different ways but they just don’t look right, these are all items that other ladies can enjoy so why not rent them out?   Just think every time you wear a rented item, you reduce its carbon footprint and extend its lifespan.  There are ladies with beautiful wardrobes of designer wear that they never wear and they don’t want to sell them but love other people to get enjoyment from them.

Am I sold on this and will I par-take?  I guess I already do from time to time but without getting paid for it.  I often have ladies admiring my things and I let them borrow them so why not get paid for it?  Food for thought… maybe over the next few years it will be a given and it will be a part of our lives.  It might keep our husbands happy !

Would you rent your wardrobe?

A time to contemplate maybe!

Yours in Style,

Johanna-May xx