Maybe you have heard of it already: renting clothes. I got introduced to this phenomenon through a course at university. We had to analyze the business model of Rent The Runway. This American platform is, I believe, the biggest and first platform that initiated renting clothes. But what is it? And why should we consider doing it all?
The article of today might give you some answers to your questions. And to be able to answer everyone well, I had an interview with Suzanne from Masterpiece. A Dutch pioneer brand that offers rentable clothes. This is also called a clothing library.
.Why should we be renting clothes?.
There is quite a simple answer to that question: it is more sustainable (generally speaking). Instead of shopping for new items (new or second-handed), you will pay a price to rent an item for multiple days. After the time is over, you have to return the item to the clothing library.
It is super interesting to think about renting clothes. Because next to the fact that it is more sustainable, it is also a great way to try out new items or a new kind of style of which you are not sure whether it suits you.
I am also immediately thinking about prom gowns or other items that you usually not wear often. Those kinds of items are great for renting! And another positive aspect of that, is that you do not have to worry about wearing the same dress.
.Let’s ask Masterpiece.
I discovered (Share a) Masterpiece through the Sustainable Fashion Gift Card. A great initiative to discover sustainable brands/pioneers. Showing that there is so much possible already!
Why did they start with Masterpiece?
Suzanne and Lieke know each other from their student time. They eventually had to wear decent clothes to the office. But their budget didn’t allow them to purchase new and qualitative items for that occasion often. This, together with their interest in minimizing their footprint, sparked an idea. The idea of sharing items came to their minds. It was something that was not that new to them because in their study period they swapped clothes themselves already quite often.
Their love for fashion already caused moments where they wanted to start their own clothing store. So the idea of doing something within the fashion industry was not new. Still, those ideas sometimes collided with their vision of the environment. Share a Masterpiece is therefore a way to combine both of their ideals. And through an accelerator program, they were able to start with their new business plan!
Where are the items coming from?
The items from Masterpiece are coming from brands and designers. They collaborate with them, where Masterpiece receives items to rent for the brands and designers. Every time an item is rented, the brand/designer will receive a contribution. This is a new business model for fashion brands as well, and Suzanne and Lieke see a future in this model as well.
In the beginning, Masterpiece usually bought left stock for example that is coming from an older collection.
Can you also purchase items yourself?
This is not something that Masterpiece does. But there are clothing libraries that actually offer such a service. For Masterpiece, customers can say that they particularly liked a special item. And when the item might be not the best for renting anymore they sometimes offer that customer to purchase it for a small price.
I think it is a good thing as well to not offer to purchase since it collides with their idea of sharing and not owning items. By not providing this as an option, they keep this vision strong.
“You should actually pay according to use and no longer pay according to possession.
“There is no expiration date on clothing.
The items are dirty.
A complete false for this one. I can imagine that it sounds a little bit dirty or unhygienic if multiple people have already worn the item before you. But it is the same as with vintage stores: the items have been cleaned. Masterpiece even asks people to not necessarily clean the items themselves at home! They have a special laundry cleaning company that helps them in making the items clean and neat again. And they decided to have a little number of white clothes, so yellow marks won’t be there as well.
The items are not good anymore.
Another mistake. Because the items will always be checked on missing buttons, holes, loose threads, etc. This means that if you are renting clothes, these will be in a good condition.
I never thought of renting clothes a lot before, but I feel that I might be doing it in the future! For a party or something else that ‘requires‘ a special kind of garment that I do not own because I do not wear such items, I would definitely consider renting!
Will you be renting clothes in the future?