This years Fashion Awards saw fifty influencers making a stand for Climate Change by wearing rental clothing, bringing a touch of chic to the clothes sharing economy. All the clothes were from MY WARDROBE HQ, the UK’s premier destination for luxury fashion rental. Founded by former Monsoon buyer Tina Lake and marketing executive Sacha Newell in 2017 and launched quietly in June 2018, MY WARDROBE HQ manages the rental process on behalf of the vendor and the lender, and takes 40 per cent of the cut. Sounds simple enough. I caught up with Founder Tina Lake to talk sustainable fashion, if rental clothing really is the new black and what the future holds for the fashion industry…
Passion To Profit
- Tell us a little bit about MY WARDROBE HQ, how did it all begin?
A personal passion for fashion established MY WARDROBE HQ, myself and Sacha Newall, who founded London-Boutiques.com started the company. In the background, we have been working on renting out our wardrobes for a few years and it has developed into a bigger idea, as we are passionate about saving the environment and designer labels!
How Does Renting Clothes Work?
- How does MY WARDROBE HQ work?
MY WARDROBE HQ is a buy-share-rent concept catering to the growing movement of consumers concerned about the environmental impact of the fast fashion, a community of eco-warriors who wear Gucci and Prada! Disrupting the industry by encouraging fashion-conscious consumers to rent rather than buy designer garments. Women can monetise their wardrobes (as people now do their cars and houses) whilst doing their bit to save the planet. MY WARDROBE HQ offers a unique borrow and buy model that allows customers to ‘try before they buy’, via renting. If you rent, love it and just can’t let it go, you can pay the difference and keep it! Unlike other rental platforms, MY WARDROBE HQ manages the whole process with items stored in secure premises to ensure items are carefully handled, cleaned and delivered on time.
Can Rental Work For Mid-Market?
- Rental clothing is a well-established practice for high-end labels, could clothing rental work for the mid-market?
Women can rent and buy RTW and accessories from high and contemporary-level brands including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Prada, Anya Hindmarch, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Needle & Thread, Roksanda, Mulberry, Kalita, Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, Perfect Moment, Henry Holland, Charlotte Olympia, Isabel Marant and Chloe, amongst many more. We also champion emerging and sustainable labels and have signed brand partnerships with Franks London and Alice Early. You will find mid-market brands on the website such as MAJE and Sandro.
Sustainable Fashion Solution?
- MY WARDROBE HQ is committed to being a fully sustainable business, can you tell us what you are doing to achieve this?
Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries and is over-due for an environmental overhaul. Fast fashion – the manufacture of cheap clothing which is designed to be worn for a season, if that, and then thrown out – is seen as a real problem by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, considering about 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry per year. UK consumers buy more new clothing than their counterparts in any other European country, resulting in 300,000 tonnes of textiles ending up in household bins every year.
‘We sent our business plan to the government committee looking into the issues with fast fashion and they published it on the government website as a possible solution to the crisis.’– Tina Lake, MY WARDROBE HQ on sustainable fashion business.
- How do you see the practice of rental clothing developing over the next 5 years?
I think Rental will become a core part of everyones life – from fashion to home furnishings. In the very near future people will buy core staples (the black trouser, the white shirt, the blue basic denim, underwear!!) but rent everything else: daily eye-catching workwear, all fun weekend outfits, holiday wear and occasionwear. Rental periods will vary from a few days to a few months depending on the requirements.
“We’ve already seen a shift in peoples mentality around rental – changing from shame and secrecy to being proud of being savvy and environmentally conscious.”– Tina Lake, MY WARDROBE HQ
- What can we look forward to seeing more of from MY WARDROBE HQ in the future?
We will see rental becoming the norm, our closets are far too squashed with clothing and people are realising it’s time to rent and use what we have. In a world of Uber, Airbnb and Spotify, the ‘sharing’ economy is hitting the fashion industry, where consumer habits are changing. The millennial mindset does not favour ownership particularly as we live in an Instagram age of never being caught in the same outfit twice, with a desire for fast fashion fuelled by advertising, social media and a supply of cheap garments. There is a movement of consumers sustainably shopping and saying ‘no’ to fast fashion, instead opting to rent clothing in a bid to be eco-friendly.
So, is rental clothing the future of fashion? As well as luxury labels and mid-market labels from MY WARDROBE HQ, high-street stores like H&M are picking up the rental clothing baton. Following their successful Conscious Exclusive Collection H&M have announced that they are trialing rental clothing, they are also offering a repairs service in-stores to encourage consumers to repair and reuse. There is certainly a seismic shift taking place. Perhaps rental clothing could well be the fashion solution for your next party and the planet!
The Fabulous Times