renting clothing future of ethical fashion
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Fast fashion is getting faster, and its impact on the planet is rising. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – the UK government’s waste advisory body – clothing has the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport, and food.

When you look at any statistics around clothes shopping and clothes disposal it is enough to make your head spin:

  • In the UK we buy 1.13 million tonnes of new clothing per year.
  • This causes 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from production to disposal.
  • 300,000 tonnes of clothing head straight to landfill every year in the UK.
  • We wear our clothes 36% less than we did 15 years ago.
  • 70% of all clothing donated to charity shops in Europe ends up in Africa, where it negatively impacts on local makers and sellers of clothing. This piece of modern colonialism disguised as donation makes for a good read.

What’s the Answer?

I firmly believe that the answer lies mainly in stricter regulation on fast fashion producers. However, in 2019, the UK government rejected a report calling for fast fashion retailers to address their impact on the environment and working conditions.

This means at the moment until we see change at the governmental level, the responsibility is shouldered by the consumer (i.e. us), and in adopting more sustainable shopping practices where we can.

However, whilst interest in sustainable fashion is rising, there are barriers to dressing more sustainably. Sustainable clothing brands aren’t always the most size-inclusive. Sustainable clothing is also often considered as too expensive, although I would urge you to give this piece on is ethical fashion expensive a read.

So What Can We Do?

One way that we can green our wardrobes is to cut back on clothes shopping and swap clothes with friends of a similar size, or rent clothing instead.

One such clothing rental service in the UK is The Devout – a British born rental fashion company making its mark on the fashion industry that currently caters to women from size 4 to size 18, and men from size XS to XXL – with plans to cater to larger sizes.

It’s incredibly straightforward. The Devout delivers 5 items of premium brand clothing of your choice to your door. You can browse by size, and by brand and occasion – e.g. summer, wedding, workwear – from The Devout’s huge selection, to pick out exactly what you need for the upcoming month. Your items are then delivered to you, and you get to keep the items for one month, before returning and receiving your next 5 items.

ethical clothing rental for women
Some of The Devout’s current rental pieces, including pieces from People Tree, Ganni, and Reformation.

It’s convenient – I would say more convenient than shopping multiple retailers for clothing – and an altogether planet-friendlier way of greening your wardrobe. Gone are the days of wearing an item once for a night out and relegating it to the back of your wardrobe.

The Devout is especially great if designer labels are your thing, but you don’t have a designer label budget. With beautiful pieces from designer brands such as Ganni and Reformation, that retail for £200 each, the good news is the monthly fee is fixed regardless of the value of your items that you have chosen.

ethical clothing rental for men
Some of The Devout’s ethical rental options for men

It costs £79 a month to join, so if you are spending near or above this amount a month on clothing, then it’s a great option to try and see if it works for you.

When you join The Devout and pick out your first five pieces you can even get £25 off your first box when you join by using the code DEVOUT25 at the checkout.

Hate washing and ironing? Don’t worry, there’s no need to wash, dry, and iron your clothes before sending them back to The Devout, as they handle the laundry and ironing process on return to ensure quality control for all outgoing rentals.

What if Something Breaks or Tears?

As someone who is more than a little accident-prone, my first worry about renting clothes is damaging them. But if you are anything like me, then don’t worry, The Devout offers complimentary insurance as part of your monthly subscription to cover you for minor damages to your clothes.  Minor damages that they cover for include:

  • Broken zips
  • Light fading
  • Tears on the seam line
  • Loosening of seams
  • Lost buttons 
  • Stains which can be removed during their professional cleaning service

Would you try renting clothes? Have you rented clothing? Let me know – I’d love to hear your experience.

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