Millennials Opt to Rent Their Clothes, Forcing Change in the Fashion Industry

Image: Business Insider

Clothing rental services like Rent the Runway and Le Tote are growing in popularity and an increasing number of retailers are introducing these options to reflect the way Millennials and GenZ customers are choosing to purchase (or not purchase) clothes. Rather than owning clothing that goes out of style in a season or two, renting these items produces less demand and waste overall–as a result, Millennials are pushing the fashion industry to become more sustainable

As Business Insider recently reported:

  • Experts say that young consumers are looking for more sustainable ways to shop and choosing to live clutter-free lives in the spirit of Marie Kondo.
  • And rental fits neatly in with both of those habits: It feeds their thirst for newness and does so in a sustainable way.
  • According to Mike Barry, director of sustainable business at UK retailer Marks & Spencer, “The signals are [fashion is] on the same trajectory as plastics and forests and alternatives to meat.” Meaning that retailers must respond to these consumer preferences or be left behind.

Why This Matters: The fashion industry has a huge waste problem (not to mention a human rights one as well) and it’s something I (Miro) think about a lot when it comes to my own wardrobe and trying to live a life that doesn’t actively contribute to human and planetary harm. While I haven’t made clothing rental services a monthly habit (they can still be expensive) I have tried–like many other Millennials–to shift my closet into a “capsule wardrobe” and have found that I’ve significantly cut down on the new clothes I needlessly purchase. Not only that but owning clothing that mostly all goes together cuts down on decision fatigue and the morning stress that results from it–a lesson I learned from President Obama.

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