We've all been there: buying new tops, skirts, pants, and shoes that have just gone down 50% in your local Zara or H&M and probably going home with at least 10-20 items after we swore we'll buy “just that one top”.
Fast fashion is everywhere and most of us have stocked up at these budget-friendly stores since, let's be honest, their products look cool and the prices are close to nothing.
Due to undeniably poor quality though, these tees, pants, and skirts will soon end up in your trash or will get replaced by the new collection. Often, it seems like fast fashion moves so quickly you don't even have time to keep up with it but since the prices are so low, you'll probably try to keep up anyway.
Unfortunately, this consumer trend is hurting our planet majorly by contributing vast amounts to waste pollution. According to a 2017 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this current fashion consumption creates greenhouse gas emissions of 1.2 billion tonnes a year.
This is even more than international flights and marine shipping combined.
If that number's not staggering enough, the report also highlighted how clothes release such a huge amount of microfibers into the ocean yearly that it could be compared to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. Yes, your shopping habit might endanger marine life!
The fashion industry is responsible for a frightening amount of environmental issues and if we keep going like this, we're closer to exceeding the dangerous global warning threshold than we imagined. And that might happen as soon as by 2050.
So, we get it – fast fashion and endless shopping for the new trendy items are bad for the environment, but what can we do? A girl's got to wear something, right?
That's where clothing rentals come into play.
You can now subscribe to a service where you can literally rent clothes for wearing. No strings attached! For one specific monthly fee, you'll get access to hundreds of designer clothes and will never have to worry about not having anything to wear. But the best part: renting clothes will decrease your carbon footprint and this, in turn, will have a huge impact on the fashion industry's waste issue.
While clothing rentals seem like an out-of-this-world service, there are plenty of clothing rentals already available online. Below you'll find the best clothing rental choices of 2019 (but we can bet the clothing rental trend will keep rising even further in the coming years).
1. Rent the Runway
Price: $30/rental, $89/mo, 60-day trial
What you can rent: 400+ designers, clothing and accessories, kids clothing, designers including Phillip Lim, Saint Laurent, Vera Wang. Especially a great selection of dresses.
Rent the Runway is quite likely the most popular clothing rental to date thanks to its flexible plans and vast selection. RTR has 3 main pricing plans:
- you can use the one-time rental option which allows you to keep an item up to 8 days
- monthly shipment for $89/mo
- unlimited renting and swapping for $159/mo
While $159 might seem like much, it's nothing compared to the clothes you get access to: designer dresses that cost up to $5000 in retail, fancy jackets by designers like Michael Kors, Nina Ricci, Derek Lam and hundreds of others, not to even mention the sheer extent of the selection at RTR. They literally have over 2000 products within the tops category alone.
Rent the Runway also offers free shipping and returns, backup sizes and they take care of the dry cleaning.
2. Le Tote
Price: $79/mo for the Classic plan, $89/month for Maternity plan
What you can rent: Personalized style suggestions for every occasion, including everyday casual wear, brands including Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff and others
When RTR is somewhat like a huge online store, Le Tote is more personal. The company specializes in “personalized clothing subscription” that creates style suggestions and picks out items for you so you could just browse through that selection and order what you like. This way you'll avoid the unnecessary browsing since you'll only see the items that match your taste.
Le Tote has two subscription plans, one of which starts from $79/month. Similarly to other rental services, you don't have to buy anything but if you do decide to buy one of the rented items, you'll get a 50% discount.
3. Gwynnie Bee
Price: 30-day free trial. Lowest subscription is $49/mo for 1 item out at a time. The highest plan is $199/mo for 10 items out at a time. All plans include unlimited exchanges, shipping both ways, and cleaning.
What you can rent: 150+ brands, perfectly suited for any occasion and any body type
Gwynnie Bee is another great clothing rental that's especially loved for two reasons: it has very approachable and reasonable clothing selection that literally anyone could wear and they don't limit any body types. No matter your dress size, Gwynnie Bee's got you covered!
The site has a down-to-earth approach to fashion which is very easy to relate too. As they say on their website, you can create your ultimate closet for any occasion, whether it's a 9-to-5 office job, casual garden party or a fancy dinner, there's something for everyone.
Gwynnie Bee offers unlimited exchanges but there's only one condition: based on your subscription, you can keep a certain number of items with you at once.
4. Style Lend
Price: Depends on the item
What you can rent: High-end designer products, especially dresses, bags and accessories that cost over $300 in retail
Style Lend works a bit differently since it's essentially a peer-to-peer community where fashionistas can lend their clothes to others and earn money from that while others can rent those items as from a regular clothing rental.
The platform works with more high-end brands like Chanel, Christian Louboutin, and others, so fast fashion brands are not really welcomed. Dresses, bags, shoes, and accessories are predominant at Style Lend right now and you can easily rent a legitimate Chanel handbag for $150!
If you'd like to earn extra money with your designer clothing, you can get 80% of the rental amount and Style Lend offers 100% insurance – if something happens to your item, they'll replace it. You can lend your item to others only if the product's retail value is over $250 and it's less than 2 years old.
What you can rent: Similar to Le Tote, classic and maternity clothes, especially suited for everyday casual wear
Armoire is very similar to Le Tote as they also offer a personalized style selection. With one monthly subscription, you'll get unlimited exchanges. The platform works based on a personalized selection which suggests you the best style picks to choose from. You can then put together your order and when you're done, you can send the case back and order another one.
As an extra perk, shipping is free both ways and they also take care of the cleaning themselves.
6. Infinitely LOFT
What you can rent: LOFT product selection
More and more retailers are joining the clothing rental train and LOFT happens to be one of the first. Infinitely LOFT is LOFT's rental service that functions exactly like any other clothing rental: you can browse their selection and pick out an unlimited amount of items, all from LOFT's selection.
As if that doesn't sound great already, shipping is free, cleaning is included and if you like something, you can buy it with a discount. If LOFT happens to be one of your favorite stores, this rental service is the one to go for.