At Dressr, rental is our passion. But that doesn’t mean we think purchasing high-quality fashion that you love is a bad thing – in fact, it has a special role to play in the rental ecosystem.
I’m here to tell you why.
When I started Dressr in 2020, I was searching for a way to enjoy fashion that wasn’t harmful to people and the planet. It was immediately clear that the quantity of clothing being produced the speed at which that clothing was being consumed and the amount of waste being created, were unsustainable. For me, these three hallmarks of the ‘fast fashion’ industry are what needed to change.
From mass textile waste and the exploitation of garment workers to the ever-diminishing biodiversity in our ecosystem and of course the incalculable damage to our natural environment, fast fashion has a LOT to answer for. The rise of rental is an excellent antidote to the poison that is fast fashion. But purchasing some of your wardrobe is certainly not a bad thing – so long as you’re being conscious about what you choose to purchase.
At Dressr, we allow our members to purchase a rented item they’ve fallen in love with, at a members-only discount. As part of our rental ecosystem, this makes a lot of sense. The member has selected an item to rent from our collection of sustainable brands, worn it at least once, fallen in love with the piece, and chosen to purchase it for long-term wear.
It’s basically a fool-proof, ‘try before you buy’ system that tackles many of the problems with the fast fashion formula:
Fast fashion by nature is not designed to last. It’s designed to be worn a few times before a new trend replaces it.
When you rent with Dressr, you get access to Belgium’s largest collection of conscious fashion brands, chosen for their commitment to quality & sustainability in their production processes. And purchasing one of our pieces is not only an investment in quality, it’s also participating in the second-hand market, as the piece will almost certainly have been rented to another member before.
There is a lot of psychology at play when you purchase an item of clothing. Fast fashion brands are excellent at creating a sense of urgency, building strong customer service experiences, and leveraging social proof to try and convince you that you NEED that brand new top right now. Then, when you get home and that warm marketing glow has faded, you’ll often find the purchase wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Rental allows you to find out how you feel about a piece of clothing in real life, to live in the piece for a while, and see if it works with your body, your aesthetic, and your lifestyle. If you choose to purchase a rented piece, you know it’s because it ticks all the boxes and not because the marketing department twisted your arm.
Brands that produce fast fashion clothing tend to overproduce as it brings down the cost per unit. How unsold product is dealt with at season’s end varies from brand to brand but burning, dumping, and shredding are common practice.
Purchasing a piece of rental clothing through Dressr is the opposite of this. Our brands don’t mass produce. They are all conscious creators who produce thoughtfully to avoid over-production. And when they do produce too much of an item, they manage that excess stock through sustainable solutions like stock sales, upcycling, repurposing and more.
My hope is that one day, all our wardrobes will be a creative mix of rented clothing and both new & secondhand items that have been consciously purchased. I know we can get there.