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Modes of Sustainable Fashion: Clothing Rentals

It's 2022. Gone are the days of buying fast fashion, which is defined as low-cost designs that are quickly transferred from catwalk to clothing stores to reflect the latest trend. Some stores that are considered fast fashion are Forever 21, TopShop, Uniqlo, Free People, etc, etc. And don't get me wrong, I love these places and used to shop there, but I need to start thinking about the wellbeing of our planet, if not for us but for future generations.

That's why, starting this new year, I'm focusing on sustainable fashion brands that are focused on bettering the world and offering quality pieces that will last you for longer. Sustainable fashion is an all-inclusive term describing products, processes, activities, and actors (policymakers, brands, consumers) aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity, according to The Vou. It's based on local sourcing and production, transparency across the supply chain, traceability of work processes and raw materials, environmentally friendly raw materials, safe working conditions, and fair wages.

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE FASHION?

There are plenty of ways to support sustainable fashion. You can either buy it yourself through a styling box by brands whose mission is sustainability. You can also partake in thrifting which is basically buying second-hand clothes or items that have been loved before. Or you can use a clothing rental service, which promotes less consumption by buyers, and is what I am discussing today. In this three-part series, we will focus on highlighting clothing brands that promote sustainability with these three options.

Well, in terms of rentals, you can subscribe to a monthly rental service that lets you check out your favorite pieces. This keeps clothes out of dumpsters, stops you from going on shopping sprees, and you're putting your money into supporting a brand that actually cares about our planet.

WHO IS THIS OPTION BEST FOR?

Honestly, this option is great for everyone and anyone who wants to try sustainable fashion and who cares about the state of our planet. It's also great if you're the type of person who can only wear some statement pieces once or twice. I love updating my closet constantly and participating in trends, and using a clothing rental subscription is great for that. I also get to rock designer brands I could never buy myself (right now). Most importantly, I'm saving money, because I resist the urge of spending some of my hard-earned money on clothes that won't last two loads in the washing machine.

Now let's take a look at some rental services out there:

RENT THE RUNWAY

Rent the Runway is a clothing rental company, but it was the first clothing subscription platform that provided the everyday woman with access to authentic, luxury fashion. Since its launch in 2009, RTR has gone through many iterations, some of which were the result of the pandemic, and now it’s also a sustainable resale platform where shoppers can rent, buy, or subscribe to secondhand clothing.

  • Price: RTR has three memberships available: if you want to get four items a month, you pay $89; for eight pieces, it's $135 a month; and for 12, you pay $150.
  • Brands: Mainly luxury brands – everything from Tory Burch and Kate Spade to Furla and Ulla Johnson.
  • Sizes: RTR carries clothes in sizes 0 to 22.
  • Occasion: The brand first catered to special occasion clothing options but has shifted to include everyday outfits for work and girls' night out.

ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Get your 1st & 2nd months of 8 items/month for $99 (regularly $135/month)
CODE: GETDRESSED

Check out our Rent the Runway reviews for more info.

WARDROBE

Wardrobe is a borrowing service that offers easy and affordable access to luxury and vintage clothing. The main point of difference is that the clothes are provided by other people who are also interested in trying out luxury clothes without spending too much money and without overcrowding their closets. Not only will you save money by not actually purchasing luxury pieces, but you can even make some by lending pieces from your own collection.

  • Price: You don't need to purchase a membership to rent through Wardrobe. The prices of each piece are set by the lender – within a range, of course – and you get charged service fees and cleaning fees.
  • Brands: It's also mainly luxury brands from Versace and Gucci to Fendi and Prada.
  • Sizes: It mainly depends on what other people are putting out, so sizing may be limited.
  • Occasion: Because the pieces are picked by lenders, they can be anything from everyday wear to formal events.

ARMOIRE

Armoire gets you exclusive access to an endless wardrobe of high-end brands delivered to your door to wear and return when you want. There's a little bit of everything for everyone: from work clothes to party styles. With Armoire, all you need to do is specify what your style is and it'll do all the work for you. You'll get a curated list made for you that you can rent from any time. You can also purchase any of the items at a significant discount.

  • Price: Armoire has highly competitive memberships available for all budgets. For four pieces a month, it's $79; for seven, it's $119; and for unlimited pieces a month, it's $239.
  • Brands: Armoire is a lot more casual and includes brands like Alo Yoga and English Factory.
  • Size: This brand also features a wide range of sizes for all body types.
  • Occasion: Armoire also targets everyday looks, streetwear, and even office looks.

ACTIVE DEAL: Limited Time Only! Get $50 OFF your first month of the 7-item Capsule membership or $124.50 OFF your first month of the Unlimited membership.
CODE: MSA7ITEM or MSAUNLIMITED

Check out our Armoire reviews for more info.

GLAM CORNER

Glam Corner offers designer clothing rental to fashion lovers women in Australia. You can browse through their very extensive collection of both regular clothes and maternity options and rent what you need when you need it. Not only are you not buying unnecessary pieces that you'll probably use once or twice, but you're trying out new styles with no commitment if you don't like them. You can either sign yourself up for a membership or opt for a one-time rental.

  • Price: GlamCorner has just two options for membership. You can choose the starter plan for $99 and three pieces a month or the unlimited plan for $149 a month.
  • Brands: Some of their most popular brands include Camilla, Witchery, Husk, and many more.
  • Size: GlamCorner offers options for everyone, including maternity clothing.
  • Occasion: GlamCorner mainly offers options for everyday outfits.

HURR

All the way across the pond, Hurr is providing women in the UK the chance to explore each other's closets. Just like Wardrobe, Hurr is a borrowing service driven by other women who want to explore sustainability while also making a little money on the side. All you need to do is take a picture of your item, set a price for renting it, upload it, and voila! When you get an offer, you can approve it and then send it on its merry way. You can also opt to cover items with a security deposit, in case someone decides they like your piece a little too much.

  • Price: Hurr doesn't have any set prices a month but rather lets lenders set their own prices.
  • Brands: Some of the brands available for renting are Alexander McQueen, Reformation, Alexa Chung, and so many more.
  • Size: The sizing available is limited to those who are lending their clothes.
  • Occasions: Again, the clothes available are limited to what others are putting out, but it'll most likely be formal wear and everyday options.

GWYNNIE BEE

Gwynnie Bee is a monthly subscription service for sizes 0-32. This subscription service allows you to select items you like that are put in a virtual closet. The chosen items in your virtual closet are sent to you at random, but you can select priority pieces to be sent to you first. It's definitely a funner way of doing fashion as you never know what you'll get.

  • Price: You can get unlimited access to a closet the size of a department store with unlimited free shipping. For one item out at a time, the cost is $49 a month, for two items, $69, and for three items, it's $95 a month.
  • Brands: Some brands you could rent include Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein.
  • Size: You can get anything between a size 0 and a size 32.
  • Occasions: Gwynnie Bee targets mainly casual wear.

ACTIVE DEAL: Get 50% off your first month! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Check out our Gwynnie Bee reviews for more info.

NUULY

Nuuly is a monthly rental subscription service for women's apparel, where customers can choose any six items from hundreds of brands.

  • Price: $88 a month.
  • Brands: You can rent clothes from Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropology, and much more.
  • Size: The clothes available go up to a size 30.
  • Occasions: Based on the brands they rent out, it definitely targets more casual wear.

Check out our Nuuly reviews for more info.

THE TAKEAWAY

So, is sustainable fashion right for you? If you're truly invested in making our planet a better and healthier place, then yes. If you rather spend money on staple pieces that will last you years to come and won't need to be replaced after two washes, then yes. I'm not saying throw everything away and start all over with basic pieces from sustainable brands, but maybe be a little more conscious on your next shopping spree.

If you're not fully committed and want to see what it's like, a rental subscription is a great option. It's probably cheaper than weekly shopping sprees and you get to try brands and styles you probably would never think to buy. You have options: whether you want to borrow from actual people and help them pocket some money or whether you rather go through a retailer. And no, these services don't target one specific group of women, there's something for everyone all around the globe.

If rental memberships aren't your jam, there are plenty of other options to explore: buying second-hand clothing or purchasing styling boxes curated with sustainable brands. I'll be exploring these options in the next couple of weeks, helping you decide which one is a better path for your budget, goals, and fashion needs.

Stay tuned for next week, where will explore styling boxes.

So, what are your thoughts? Would you ever try clothing rentals? Sound off below!

Sophia Caraballo
Sophia Caraballo
Sophia Melissa Caraballo is a Puerto Rican native living in New York City, writing about everything from beauty and food to celebrities and lifestyle for a living. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez with an English bachelor's and pursued a master's in journalism from Syracuse University.

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