H&M wants customers to shop ‘til they drop, then return it all a week later.
No matter the season, there’s an event that you’ll need an outfit for. Wedding guest dresses may be peak in the summer, but winter weddings are definitely a thing too. Then there’s party season to think about. Do you go for a statement sequin number for the office Christmas do? Should you opt for that fail-safe black number for after-work festive cocktails, or is it time to give the 90s silky slip another go? The possibilities are, quite frankly, endless, and this is why rental fashion services are now more popular than ever.
We have fallen for many rental fashion sites over the years: there's Borrower Boutique which boasts just shy of 100 designer dresses to hire at a click of a button. There's even the option of a 'Try On Service' where you can order multiple dresses to your home to simply try on before you commit to renting. Then, there are sites like DesignerRoom that let hire your designer dress for four days so you needn't worry about rushing back from that winter wedding to get your dress back. Peer-to-peer rental services are also available and allow you to borrow someone else’s outfit.
Now, retail giant H&M is going to begin trialling a rental model from their flagship in Stockholm, in response to mounting pressure on the fashion industry to become more mindful.
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The company is testing out a clothing rental service at its flagship store in Stockholm. For the equivalent of €35, customers can rent clothes from a collection of 50 pieces, according to a report in The Business of Fashion. The retailer will also offer repair services with an in-house atelier in the newly renovated flagship store which opened last month.
The move comes amid growing criticism against the fashion industry’s negative environmental impact. A United Nations report found that the fashion industry is responsible for up to 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and shipping. Fast fashion, in particular, has fallen under intense scrutiny for producing excess waste and pollution, overworking and underpaying workers under terrible conditions, and mass-producing knockoffs of other creators’ ideas.
“We have a huge belief in rental, but we still want to test and learn quite a lot and do tweaks and changes,” Daniel Claesson, H&M’s head of business development, said.
While the rental service is limited to the flagship store, for now, it could soon see the company going green in the future. H&M intends for its greenhouse gas emissions to be negative, meaning it would offset more than it produces, by 2040
Main image by H&M on Instagram