Pre-loved fashion is the new black for 2022. We explore the sharp rise of rental fashion over the past few years…
If you haven’t rented an outfit yet, where have you been? Fashion rental has become increasingly popular as more and more of us are conscious of our carbon footprint and the impact that fast-fashion has on our planet.
With the fashion rental market set to be worth a huge $2 billion by 2025, it’s clear that renting clothing is becoming more favourable than in times gone by. This trend is largely due to a large proportion of millennials, who make up the majority of the fast-fashion market, opting for clothing that is less harmful to the environment than ever before. With that said, we take a deep dive into the rental fashion industry!
The Impact of Tech
Rental fashion relies on technology. If it weren’t for online websites such as Hurr, By Rotation and Hire Street, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for this market. Or at least, it would exist on a much smaller scale. The rise of social media combined with the acceleration of influencer marketing has seen the industry skyrocket as more and more of us flock to purchase the perfect bag to match our festival outfit.
Whilst renting fashion pieces was once reserved for special occasions such as proms and weddings, we are now seeing a preference for renting garments for holidays, date-nights and purely because we can!
Rental fashion is more accessible than ever before. Years ago, fashion-swaps were the thing to do with regular meet-ups being held to swap pieces with friends and strangers alike. Now, it couldn’t be easier to browse a website, find the perfect piece and have it delivered within a day or two. Returns are super easy as most brands include return postal bags so there really is nothing stopping this industry from thriving.
Additionally, personalised search results, wish-lists, and recommended products have also increased the popularity of rental clothing. The user experience from first landing on rental websites to returning your pre-loved pieces couldn’t be a more seamless and streamlined experience. We particularly commend the words of Hurr who encourage consumers to treat the website as an extension of their own wardrobes;
“Whether you’re looking for something specific or just browsing, your unlimited virtual wardrobe starts here.” – Hurr
This clever use of copy creates an immersive experience for customers looking for that perfect piece and generates a desirability in pre-loved clothing that previously didn’t exist.
Pre-loved clothing has long been looked down upon by the fashion industry. However, things have drastically changed as the younger generations are yearning for ways in which they can help the environment.
The idea is that if we keep re-using and recycling clothing, rather than buying a statement piece, wearing it once and throwing it way, we will produce less waste and reduce the impact of fashion on the environment.
Whilst it has taken longer than it probably should have, pre-loved and second hand clothing has recently become the ‘cool’ thing to wear amongst the youngsters. As the fashion industry needs to keep the gen-z and millennial generations on board to sustain and grow business, brands have realised that they must listen up and embrace the pre-loved trend. A brilliant way that this has been done recently is the collaboration between second-hand superstar ebay and glamorous gen-z show Love Island.
The collaboration has catapulted pre-loved clothing into the mainstream and deemed it the ‘in thing to wear’ for 2022. Previously, Love Island partnered with fast-fashion brands such as Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal. In light of the change in consumer behaviour, the ITV show made a dramatic change to their partnership deal to showcase their alignment with the younger generations – and it definitely paid off!
With pre-loved fashion gaining momentum, it’s only natural that this fuels the popularity of rental fashion too. In recent weeks, many fashion brands have launched their own rental services, including high-street brand Simply Be.
So, how sustainable is rental fashion? It’s safe to say that rental fashion has gained sustainable credentials as this emerging market competes with the negative connotations of the fast-fashion industry.
However, it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Recent studies suggest that consumers are treating pre-loved rental fashion in the same way they would fast-fashion. Meaning that they are consuming the same amount of clothing, however rather than throwing it away, rental garments are getting a second, third and even fourth life.
It’s important to understand that the hidden environmental factors such as transportation emissions, the carbon footprint of running a large website, dry cleaning and packaging materials are amongst the things that must be taken into consideration when comparing the rental fashion model with fast-fashion.
Although the rental fashion model may not be perfect or as green as it could possibly be (yet), it remains the most sustainable way of following fashion trends according to Tasmin Chillet, co-founder of rental fashion brand Onloan. Extending the life and longevity of garments is the best way to have a positive impact on the environment, according to Chillet.
And with that, we’re looking forward to seeing how the rental fashion industry adapts and grows in the future. Thanks to clever tech, unique website features, influencer marketing and the social consciousness of the younger generations, the fashion rental market is booming.
It’s clear that the way we shop online is continually changing and evolving. Staying ahead of the game and ensuring your website is prepared for such changes, is imperative for continued success. If you want to future-proof your fashion website, don’t hesitate to drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do!