Exploring Sustainable Business Models: Clothing Rental
Rental business models have disrupted many industries. The future of car ownership, for example, will probably look quite different. And the sharing economy is thriving alongside rental: bike sharing, tool libraries (shout out to the Toronto Tool Library, external link), and the like. For fashion, by getting more wear out of a garment, you reduce the environmental and social impact of that garment. All that embodied carbon, that embodied social and environmental impact, is reduced. The rental and resale markets squeeze more value out the environmental, carbon and social budget that it took to make that garment.
This is why the rental market is so interesting. In shifting the ownership model away from the consumer often results in getting more wear per garment, and consumers get the added benefit of wearing a variety of garments without the great expense that that would normally entail. The product, instead of ending up in landfill, destroyed or in a donation bin, reenters the economy, extending and deriving more value (for consumers and the business operating the rental service).
- The average number of days that a garment has been worn has actually gone from close to 200 in 2003, down to around PDF filePDF file 125 by 2016, external link.
- Fast fashion has been getting faster.
- It’s also growing. Going from $1.3 trillion in 2015 to $1.5 trillion in 2020 in global apparel market size, external link.
- That’s 56 million tonnes, external link of clothing bought each year, globally.
- The average Canadian sends 37 kg of textiles, external link to landfill every year.
Case Study: Sprout Collection
“We have definitely seen an uptick in our subscribers this past month, so we are hopeful things are going back to normal soon.”