While still largely unknown, online clothing rental platforms offering temporary enjoyment of ready–to– wear pieces from high street brands and fashion houses are expected to explode in the months and years to come, with a recent report from Technavio suggesting it is set to grow by US$ 801.03 million ($1.1 billion) during the period 2019–2023. We look at why many consumers are turning to such services.

Fast fashion vs slow fashion

How many items end up in the back of our closets without ever having been worn? Today’s frenzy of ready–to–wear collections invite us, every season, to entirely rework our wardrobes. As a result, we end up with mountains of clothing we are not quite ready to give up but ultimately we hardly wear. Hence the eternal refrain of “I’ve got nothing to wear!” Only the basics, those classic items which transcend seasons and trends, are truly indispensable.

This is where rental services come in. They enable users to play with the looks of the moment without needlessly filling their closets, thus limiting waste. It’s also environmentally more sustainable, especially given that in this way, the manufacture of one item can end up serving dozens of individuals, leading to reduced production. It is one response to the environmental challenges confronting the fashion industry, which is one of the world’s biggest polluters.

A subscription for everyone

Be it streetwear–focused platform Seasons, established service Rent The Runway (offering selections from premium designer labels), Stitch Fix (which targets families), Nuuly (known for its garments with fun prints and original cuts) or other services focusing on basics, work wear, athleisure, accessories or going–out attire, the number of companies proposing clothes for limited amounts of time continues to grow. While some platforms offer rental for individual items, others have created monthly subscription services which allow for an unlimited number of clothes and often include services such as round–trip shipping, dry cleaning and even reimbursement for unworn items. It is a whole new playground for those who love to frequently change up their looks without going bankrupt.

Designer items

Not only do clothing rental services allow you to follow the trends without upsetting your banker, they also allow you to enjoy designer items that may be unaffordable otherwise. At Une Robe Un Soir (1robepour1soir. com), a French company shipping to other countries in Europe, it’s possible to rent a handbag or clutch from Saint Laurent for four days for less than EUR150 ($237), Aurélie Bidermann earrings for less than EUR135, or an Isabel Marant dress for less that EUR170. This can eventually add up to a generous budget, but it is very far from boutique prices, allowing access to pieces that are sometimes the reserve of much wealthier fashionistas.

Louis Vuitton shows in China and Japan

Louis Vuitton is taking its mens fashion collection on the road for the first time, the luxury brand said recently — with shows in China and Japan rather than Paris.

The label’s American designer Virgil Abloh said the spring 2021 collection will be unveiled in Shanghai on August 6 and in Japan afterwards. Both will be open to the general public and will be livestreamed, he added. The announcement came after Abloh made a mixed live action and animated film for Paris men’s fashion week, which is being held online for the first time because of the Covid–19 pandemic. “Message in a Bottle”, the first in a series of teaser films, shows a character called “Zoooom” and his friends packing up crates at Vuitton’s headquarters on the edge of the French capital and putting them on a barge on the River Seine before waving them off on their journey to Asia, which is becoming luxury brands’ most important market with China alone likely to account for nearly half of sales by 2025, according to some estimates.

Abloh, the first African–American creative director for a top French fashion house, also revealed that he was making a push toward greater sustainability in Vuitton’s collections. Abloh, who also founded the streetwear label Off– White, said this would involve recycling even “recycling of existing ideas for new creations”. “This next show is probably the biggest leap that I’ve made in terms of proposing a new system, how it lives and operates,” he told the industry bible, Women’s Wear Daily.

The fashion industry has been thrown into turmoil by Covid–19, with designers questioning how it operates, the frenetic calendar of seasonal collections and even catwalk shows themselves. Paris men’s fashion week ended on July 13, and featured highlights from the avant–garde Chinese designer Sean Suen alongside big hitters Dries Van Noten and the American Rick Owens.

Chanel exhibition not to be missed

Fans of everything Chanel and 20th century fashion will get an opportunity later this year to rediscover one of the most celebrated designers in the history of fashion through a comprehensive exhibition at Paris’s Palais Galliera. The Palais Galliera — the city of Paris’s museum dedicated to fashion — was closed in 2018 to undergo construction and was due to reopen last spring. Due to the global health crisis, it will instead be opening its doors on October 1. For this occasion, visitors to this temple of fashion will see its first retrospective dedicated to Gabrielle Chanel. Organised with support from Chanel, the exhibit will retrace the life of the great French couture designer and be punctuated by now– legendary designs such as the jersey sailor shirt from 1916. An entire section of the exhibit examines the signatures of Gabrielle Chanel’s personal style, from the tweed suit to both costume and fine jewelry and the classic quilted 2.55 handbag. 1921’s iconic perfume N°5 will also have an entire room dedicated to it. In all, more than 350 items gathered from the Galliera’s collection, Chanel’s archives, international museums, and private collections will be on display in nearly 16,145 sq ft, including new spaces created during the museum’s closure. The exhibition runs from October 1 to March 14 next year.