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Are Fashion Rentals the Answer to An Ethical Fashion Industry?

Are Fashion Rentals the Answer to An Ethical Fashion Industry?

How much of your wardrobe are you actually utilizing on a daily basis? I bet 40% of one of your most important (and expensive) investments collects dust in your closet every year. 50 million tons of clothing are discarded every year and most of it is not biodegradable, so we just have piles of clothes wasting away on the earth. 

As fashionably inclined habitants on this Earth, we have a duty to protect it and create a more sustainable society through what we know best—our style.

Fashion rental subscription services like Rent the Runway, Stitchfix, and Nordstrom’s TrunkClub, just to name a few, make it easy for you to do just that. Even more familiar brands like Free People, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters have a cool new subscription service called Nuuly.  Aside from the fact that you’re doing your pockets a favor, you’re doing our planet a favor when you reuse clothing. Fashion rental subscriptions give us a better alternative to supporting fast fashion that bring harm to our environment. 

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Leasing your wardrobe will save you money

 Think about how many times you’ve gone out to buy a new outfit for an event. You forgot you’ve got a night out with your girls or an interview coming up. I bet you nine times out of ten you’ve come up with a million reasons in your head to justify you purchasing a new item…you know, just for the flex. 


When in reality you already have a new dress in your closet with the tag on it it from your previous “fashion emergency” that your completely forgot about. It’s a waste of money, fabric, labor from those who literally took their blood, sweat, and tears to create that garments for you, etc. Quite frankly, we need to do better.

 Fashion rentals save you money while providing you with options to choose what you need according to your lifestyle and schedule. Instead of purchasing an item just to wear it and hang it in your closet until it collects dust, fashion rentals allow you to pass on a great item to someone else who could use it’s magic. 

 Fashion rentals save you money while providing you with options to choose what you need according to your lifestyle and schedule. Instead of purchasing an item just to wear it and hang it in your closet until it collects dust, fashion rentals allow you to pass on a great item to someone else who could use it’s magic. 

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Leasing your wardrobe can reduce the impact of the fashion industry on the environment

Between 1999-2009 the volume of textile trash grew 49%. It’s 2020 now. We have brands like Fashionnova and Pretty Little Thing that release over 600 new pieces every week. The fashion industry, especially the fast fashion industry, is creating a huge impact on our environment. It is one of the major contributors to astronomical greenhouse gas emissions. Fashion contributes to all forms of environmental pollution: water, soil, and air. 

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Is it a realistic alternative?

Transportation is now the top source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and online shopping makes a huge contribution to that. Most rental services use cardboard boxes for shipping. An eco-friendly alternative for that could be the use of reusable garment bags versus wrapping clothing in plastic.

 In addition to the concern of shipping alone, many red flags come with the extreme possibility consumers will abuse the unlimited options and of course, there’s the free dry cleaning. The real question is can both the producer and the consumer do their environmentally responsible duties on both sides of the spectrum? 

Fashion rental services could opt to invest in renewable energy for their warehouses, be more selective with choosing sustainable brands to put in their rental rotation, reduce packaging waste and use the alternative to dry cleaning called ‘wet cleaning’. Fast fashion hype doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, so we have to do our part to make other fashionistas aware of their shopping decisions and to be an example and encourage others to make more fashionably conscious decisions. Our livelihood depends on it.

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