Detrimental rentals

Shannon Larsen on sustainability and clothing rental. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

The rise of clothing rental services could potentially trigger sustainability problems, despite slowing retail consumption.

Nash Collective owner Shannon Larsen says her styling business encourages women to consume less by finding creative ways to use what they already own.

Ms Larsen says the popularity of rental services has cut down the number of people buying popular clothing items.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she says.

“I feel like a lot of the fashion world is going to move into this ‘pre-order system,’ so a lot of stock will become more exclusive.

“It’s definitely a way of the future for clothing hiring, because there will be less consumption.”

Ms Larsen says the emphasis on current trends in these hiring businesses could contribute to the over-consumption and excessive waste of clothing.

Shannon Larsen. Photo: Jesmine Cheong.

“I guess my only thought is that when that piece goes out of trend what happens to that.

“Renting clothes would stop a lot of people consuming it, but at the same time I don’t know if it’s sustainable for the long term,” she says.

“I think another downfall is waste.

“If people don’t know how to mend the items or they are broken, what then happens to that piece.”

Club Coast Dress Hire owner Jamie Grove says these services do not stop fast fashion but helps to slow down the rate of it.

“Instead of five girls buying the dress, one girl has to buy it and five girls can use it,” she says.

“It’s better for your bank account and better for the planet because we’re not wasting as many materials on wearing a dress once and chucking the dress out the next day.

“Rental services slowdown that process.”

Jamie Grove on starting Club Coast Dress Hire. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

Ms Grove says dress rental businesses usually purchase from more expensive designer brands.

“Higher designer brands spend more on their processes and make sure their clothes and their fabrics are ethically sourced,” she says.

“So when people can afford to just rent a dress instead of purchasing it, they are often renting from more suitable fabrics and companies that look after their workers.”

Ms Larsen says constant purchasing from these expensive brands still contributes to the unsustainable consumption of clothing.

“You would think that these more expensive places are making these ethical and sustainable changes,” she says.

“I think there is already so much clothing out there that can be rediscovered that people aren’t aware of.

“The hiring thing coming into play is going to be beneficial to that circular movement, but people just want the next best thing.”

Club Coast Dress Hire customer Sophie Farrell says dress rental services have significantly shrunk her wardrobe.

Sophie Farrell on trends and dress hire. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

“These trendy items are just going to go to waste, and they are so expensive which is why I never buy them,” she says.

“I still think it’s slightly bad because the trend is still stuck there, a girl will spend $400 on a set and within a month it’s gone out of trend.

“I think it’s definitely helping us buy less so that’s a good thing but I also think the trends also mess with the whole sustainability of it.”

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