H&M Tests Renting Clothes As Fashion Industry Comes Under Increasing Scrutiny Over Pollution and Wastage

Don’t Buy, Rent: Until not too long ago, “rental fashion” was limited to renting clothes for special occasions like weddings and job interviews. But today, environmentally-conscious and cash-savvy consumers are feeding a boom in everyday-wear rental.

 

This trend is led by a string of suave start-ups like Hirestreet, Rent the Runway and Front Row. But established fashion giants are renting too – these include Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic and H&M, which only recently entered the rental game.

 

What’s for Hire?: Virtually everything, from handbags and jackets to sneakers and boxers.

 

H&M Tests Renting Clothes As Fashion Industry Comes Under Increasing Scrutiny Over Pollution and Wastage

 

Fast Fact-tion: The emergence of fast fashion has made clothes more affordable – in 2014, people bought 60% more garments than they did in 2000. This has invariably led to more wastage – as much as 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year, thereby harming the environment.

 

Carbon Talk: The clothing industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also the second-largest consumer of global water supply and 35% of microplastics in the ocean come from abandoned clothing.

 

Renting clothes instead of buying them is one way for consumers to adopt a "greener" lifestyle. Viewed from a larger lens, if rental fashion takes off in a big way it could majorly change fashion in general and placate the environmental damage of an industry that consumes more energy than aviation and shipping combined.

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