Trend Alert: Hirestreet

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

The sharing economy has already revolutionised travel with Airbnb and transport with Uber. Will the fashion industry be next?

Clothing rental is already thriving in the luxury sector, especially in the US, where Rent The Runway recently gained “unicorn” status - after a $125 million investment, it’s now worth $1 billion. The business has widened access to designer labels to people who wouldn’t usually be able to afford their high end prices, by making items from designers such as Diane von Furstenburg and Marc Jacobs available to rent for a fraction of the retail price.

It’s natural that this concept would take off in the luxury market first, but an increasing number of affordable fashion retailers are now looking into the idea, as it has several strong benefits. Large companies such as H&M are investigating fashion rental because it enables them to make use of unsold stock, and it contributes to their sustainability initiatives by reducing waste. In the UK, a tax has been proposed on new garments to tackle the environmental impact of disposable fashion, so this is one way retailers could prepare for its possible introduction.

British startup Hirestreet is hoping to win over the Millennial demographic with a service that makes it affordable for style-conscious women to avoid wearing the same outfit twice. They enable customers to rent clothing from leading brands such as Zara, Missguided and ASOS, at a cost of between £8 and £25 per item.

Young consumers are reportedly taking advantage of retailers’ free returns policies by wearing their purchases once, sometimes merely for a social media post, then sending them back. This behaviour is known as “wardrobing.” For young people with a lack of disposable income, it’s a way to keep up with fashionable friends and influencers, amid pressure to portray an enviable lifestyle on Instagram. Hirestreet responds to this trend, offering consumers a more ethical way to take part.

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