At Mellaris our weekly blog acts as a juicy insight into our thoughts, discussions and in-office gossips. From couture week to celebrities, we love talking about all things fashion related and communicating it back to you! As ‘caring is the new cool’ increasingly becomes the outlook for the year, just last week we were brainstorming how Mellaris could improve their sustainability within the near future. Donating to SmartWorks is one of our additional ventures that not only supports and uplifts our brand ethos of empowering women but it additionally reduces our stock waste too. SmartWorks is a charitable organisation that pairs up with fashion brands and relies on their kind donations which aids unemployed women who are in need of practical means to be successful during interview processes. Those who also work closely with SmartWorks includes Harvey Nichols and most recently HRH the Duchess of Sussex, of which she promoted the charity within her guest-edited September issue for British Vogue. So whilst we look forward to working with SmartWorks again, we began discussing new ways in which we could introduce a stronger eco-friendly ethos into Mellaris’ core values. And so we asked each other, would you rent your wardrobe?
Sustainability is so multifaceted and therefore micro-trends are appearing within the eco-movement that are inspiring consumers in multiple ways to become more green. ‘Reuse’ and ‘second-hand’ seem to be the key words of the moment that are captivating consumers right now. From our shopping bags, to rising popularity of vintage stores, uploading our unwanted clothing online and donating to charity, are a few of the baby-steps that are beginning to normalise eco-friendly efforts currently within our society. So, merely one week after our chat fashion pioneers, Business of Fashion, posed a question to their 1.3M followers on Instagram- Would you rent your wardrobe? As a brand this made us so happy to know that we are discussing relevant, on-trend topics and strategies which are evoking a spectacular discussion amongst customers. Whilst the joys of fast fashion include constant creative output, inspiration and content it is simultaneously affecting so many aspects of our eco system, including water pollution, textile waste, increasing consumption and therefore unethical production. These serve as a multitude of reasons why the industry needs to hit ‘refresh’ and perhaps garment renting will become one of the keys ways to encourage slow fashion habits. Currently, the average British woman hoards £285 of clothes they will never wear, making for £30 billion of unworn clothes. Americans are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did just twenty years ago. Whilst the fashion industry is fuelling this through the increasing amount of fashion shows and capsule collections, of which high-street retailers attempt to keep up with, it is also the industry which needs to responsibly put a stop to this. BOF discussed Rent the Runway retailer within their post who popularised garment renting since 2008. Now, as a $1 billion valued company, the concept has hit mainstream within the last decade as the likes of Urban Outfitters are also adopting a renting scheme. Comments on the post swayed from positive “Absolutely’s" with certain customers keen to maintain the excitement of constantly refreshing their wardrobes whilst doing so sustainably and meanwhile, other consumers felt it wasn’t appropriate for their lifestyles. Yet, one key idea prevailed from the comment section, unveiling a specific interest in renting avant-garde pieces or a perhaps garment for a specific special occasion. When buying dresses for weddings, events or Christmas parties I find myself always justifying this more expensive purchase with classic lines such as “This can be dressed down, right?” Or “I could totally pull off this gown on holiday” and more often than not it ends up and the end of the wardrobe you rarely venture back to. Renting would be a perfect solution to this surely?
A great way to self-educate regarding sustainability within fashion is to follow innovators such as Fashion Revolution! This marvellous organisation utilises their knowledge and experience to bring together designers, educators, students, brands, makers and fashion lovers to unite a creative community to believe and invest in an industry that values their people, environment, creativity and profit equally. Their website is a spectacular educational and inspiring platform that has free downloadable reports, offering in-depth knowledge and insight into how the fashion industry is affecting the environment. Whether you’re a curious fashion lover, student or passionate activist, Fashion Revolution is an engaging space to delve yourself into. With their core mission to “Unite people and organisation to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumer, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way” they are a fantastic organisation to get involved with whether it be via donation or attending an event.
BOF had an overwhelming response to their post asking, “Would you rent your wardrobe”? So similarly we’d love to hear from our customers and readers regarding your ideas and opinions. Who knows, you just might be our next source of inspiration! As a brand that offers styles with occasions in mind, such as weddings and parties, we’d appreciate if you’d share whether you’d like to rent a garment for one-off special occasions or prefer to buy to keep? Perhaps if you’re in a very sharing mood you could even tell us what particular conditions would persuade you into trying retail renting. We always love hearing from you and can’t wait to meet you in the comment section below, see you there!
-By Kirsty Scott