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The newest way to be sustainable in fashion

Article by Anna Prudhomme

Who hasn't envied one of her best friends' party dress, stolen a bar from your mother or your sister’s newest top? In the Uber-era we’re currently living in, creating an online platform to rent one another's best pieces of clothing couldn’t seem more logic. And that is why Freja, a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Sweden, decided to create the Rent Club project in Paris. Launched on the 18th of March, this newest app is the coolest clothing rental service for stylish and eco-conscious fashion Parisian folks or travellers.

It’s when travelling back home to Stockholm that she discovered a website for renting fashion. « It was perfect for me because I could pack super light and still not worry about having nothing to wear.» She got a little annoyed with this platform however, the interface was not great and they had a gigantic and messy selection... but this was something she could easily solve, thought Freja right away.

'' I feel so strongly that renting is going to be the next big thing, we just need to find the best and easiest way to do it. And it really is the only way someone crazy about fashion can still be truly sustainable,'' she explained to Garçon Paper.

There are four profound issues inherent to the fashion industry: 1) Fiber production and textile manufacturing use chemicals and other toxic substances that end-up in the soil and create unsafe environments for factory workers, cotton farmers, and even for us, consumers. 2) Then, synthetic materials such as polyester, are the primary reason for microplastics entering the oceans, harming the marine ecosystem and by repercussions, our own health. 3) The fashion industry emits about the same quantity of greenhouse gas per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined, thus a transition to renewable energy is essential.

4) Finally, the fashion industry requires enormous quantities of water. From the cotton production to the different dying process, a single t-shirt approximately needs 2,500 liters of water says the Water Footprint Network.

And as you must know, the latest GIEC report—the depressed as hell scientific team studying how we’re destroying the planet year after year— just announced that we have three years left to reduce greenhouse gas emission if we want to save our very own blue sphere. So hey ho fast fashionistas and other wannabe haul influencers, it’s time to change your way of approaching fashion consumption.

Today peer-to-peer services are everywhere : we share our houses, our cars, our knowledge, so why not our clothes ? The process is as simple as it sounds, anyone can drop a piece of clothing on the app for it to be rented (by contacting Rent Club Paris to have it accepted) and can also rent something for a day, a week or even a month.

There are, of course, concerns about carbon emissions of more frequent cleaning and transportation, yet in most cases these are minimal. Freja explained, « all our deliveries will be by bike, and we won’t wash anything unless it needs to be washed. And in that case with environmentally friendly products,» before adding, « and, of course, I’ll make sure to buy in pieces from sustainable brands or vintage items. » For her the true challenge will be converting people’s mindset into being less possessive over their belongings.

Another frequently raised idea about eco-fashion is to make long-term investments on clothing. For instance, as Freja explains her project wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t been collecting designer pieces the last few years. A yellow vintage Chanel bag, a pink Saks Potts coat, or a Ganni dress, it’s with her own favorite piece that she first launched the app. Now Rent Club Paris is also partnering directly with some eco-friendly brands such as Umlaut Paris, The Five Studio or Second Vue for sunglasses.

As Pepita, a 23-year-old Art Law student in Paris explains, “ I think the key demographic for an app like this is people who, like me, are in their twenties, enjoy expressing themselves through fashion, but don’t necessarily have the means to form an entire wardrobe with high quality and expensive pieces”. Thifaine, a legal adviser in social rights who rented an over-the-top set for a birthday party said « it’s an outfit I can’t wear every day, so to rent it for a reasonable price was the best option. » When given the choice to buy a cheap piece or rent a high quality one for the same price, both, will from now on rent rather than buy. Because of its accessible cost, this app could become a true alternative to fast fashion, breaking down the barrier that keeps so many people away from high quality and eco-responsive shopping!


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