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2019 was the year fashion rental went mainstream

The concept of old, forgotten purchases lingering in closets could soon be a thing of the past: 2019 was the year that fashion rental went mainstream. Myriad companies now offer shoppers the chance to borrow clothing for special occasions, vacations or everyday dressing, as consumers seek to minimize waste and shop in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Image credit: Unsplash/ Victor Xok

Rent the Runway (RTR), which is in many ways the poster brand for the movement, has had a particularly big year. The company kicked off 2019 with new luxury collaborations with Derek Lam, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu, and in November it announced plans to expand the number of Nordstrom locations allowing RTR members to return items, increasing its ‘RTR Drop-Off Box Network’ from five to 29 Nordstrom stores across the US. This month, the company launched a partnership with W Hotels that will give guests the chance to hire a curated selection of fashion pieces for the duration of their vacations in select destinations.

Mainstream fashion retailers have also started to incorporate rental services into their business models. Examples include Urban Outfitters, whose US subscription service Nuuly launched this summer, allowing users to borrow up to six pieces for the price of US$88 per month, either returning them after the rental period or purchasing them. The US department store Bloomingdale’s also debuted the online subscription service “My List at Bloomingdale’s” in September, charging users $149 a month. Banana Republic joined the fray this year with the launch of its ‘Style Passport’ initiative, which lets US shoppers rent up to three garments per month for a flat fee of US$85.

Fast-fashion giant H&M Group is the latest company to jump on board. The Swedish behemoth announced plans to offer clothing rentals at its flagship store in Stockholm last month, giving shoppers who belong to its customer loyalty program the chance to hire up to three pieces at a time for the duration of one week. Now, the group’s innovation department The Laboratory, its fashion label COS and the Chinese subscription rental company YCloset have teamed up to test subscription rental in China, for a period of three months. Could the traditional shopping spree be living on borrowed time?

This article is published via AFP Relaxnews.