Are Fashion Rental Companies Slowing Or Encouraging Fast Fashion?

Words: Emma Roberts

With fast becoming widely recognised as one of the planet and industries’ biggest environmental challenges, new and lternative shopping methods are popping up every day. Fashion rental services offer consumers the opportunity to rent the latest pieces for a one off fee, then return them without the guilt associated with only wearing pieces once. But does this really combat fast fashion?

According to a survey by M&S and Oxfam, there are 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the nation’s wardrobes – that’s an average of 57 items per person. However, would fashion rentals ever stop shoppers spotting cheap items on the high street and bringing their bargains home without really considering if they need them?

“There are 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the nation’s wardrobes”

Wear the Walk offers a “limitless wardrobe” through either one-off rentals or subscription services to receive and return a selection of pieces each month. This innovation in shopping is certainly an exciting way to wear new clothes without investing in expensive luxury pieces.

Wear the Walk founder Zoe Partridge said “Nowadays, we feel we can’t wear the same thing twice; there is a pressure to constantly be on-trend; and we crave that awful dopamine hit of newness all the time”.

Similarly, rental service Front Row “enables you to keep up to date with the hottest designers and trends of the moment, whilst eliminating the need to purchase.” In this sense, fashion rentals are a more effective solution to staying on than they are to eliminating waste.

In reality, fashion rentals simply makes luxury fashion more accessible to a wider audience. Perhaps in the future fashion rental companies will expand into cheaper, recycled clothing, offering all consumers the chance to depend on rental, instead of fast fashion.