How to wear sustainable clothing for special occasions

Translation
Giorgia Barbiero

Clothes and accessories used for special occasions are probably the most difficult of all the elements that make up a closet to combine with sustainable fashion. As much as there is the possibility of investing in good clothes that are timeless and will last for decades in the closet, the occasions on which they will be used can be counted on one hand, in most cases. Fortunately, there are more and more business models that allow the use of such products without compromising sustainability. Today we take a look at one of the most successful and developed in recent years: fashion rental.

Sustainable clothing and fashion rental

Suit rental has been a widespread practice among the male public since the beginning of the 20th century, given the limited variety of patterns that has always existed in formal men’s wear. Although this classic business model is still very common today, women have always found it more difficult to find good clothes to wear on a single occasion.

La Más Mona shop in Bilbao. Photo by Asier Duque.

Thanks to the development of the Internet, in the last decade women’s fashion rental companies for special occasions have flourished; from international examples like Rent the Runway to very local franchises like La Más Mona. Almost every country now has its own sustainable clothing rental alternative. This is for all those women who want to look elegant on a special date, but who also prioritize the planet.

How to consume rental fashion?

These business models typically implement one of two forms of rental: the more classic one consists of picking one or more garments and paying to wear them for a specific period of time. The second one, on the other hand, consists of paying a monthly fee to choose from a series of garments or a surprise box prepared by a stylist.

From an ecological point of view, it is clear that the classic model is the most efficient one, since the customer only consumes and uses what he really needs. Monthly payments can lead to products being rented for consumerism and not being used; and despite how attractive this may seem, it is not the most responsible thing to do. Especially if these garments are sent by mail, thus polluting unnecessarily.

La Más Mona shop in Bilbao. Photo by Asier Duque.

The best option in order to be as sustainable as possible is to go to a physical rental fashion shop; there you can try on the garments on site and choose what suits you best, without unnecessarily polluting the environment with shipping and return parcels. Of course, if this is not possible due to a lack of such places nearby, it is better to go for rental garments rather than buying garments that will be used on very few occasions.

A very positive aspect of these shops is that their fashion and accessory collections are designed to fit together. That is why there is always a way to match the garments and create a complete look, without the need to get the accessories in other ways. Everything you need to attend this special event, whether it be shoes, headwear or jewelry, will be available in just one place.

The environmental benefits of fashion rental

This circular consumption system provided by fashion rental allows a much longer life to be given to those garments with a more particular style, which are easier to get tired of quickly. The average life of one of these garments is only five wears. ” We save an average of 11,000 liters of water with each garment we rent,” reports Lorena Rodriguez from La Más Mona. “A woman throws away, on average, 37 kilos of clothes a year. Renting clothes that you are only going to wear a few times is a much more sustainable option,” explains Rent the Runway. Renting fashion allows you to consume and pollute less, and save more. “Most guest outfits are only used once. We offer to use them for 30% of the original price and we take care of the dry-cleaning costs”, says La Más Mona.

La Más Mona shop in Bilbao. Photo by Asier Duque.

With options like this, and the season of big events coming up, fashion rental is more attractive than ever. Consumers are not yet used to this way of living fashion. But, little by little, more and more of them are encouraged to try out sustainable clothing.

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