Chair of My Wardrobe HQ, Jane Shepherdson, hosted a panel talk this morning on the launch of its first ever foray in to men’s luxury rental – with iconic British brand Belstaff – as part of day one of the London Fashion Week schedule.
The panel, which featured Editor of British GQ, Dylan Jones, actor and Belstaff brand ambassador, James Norton, artist, writer and model, Wilson Oryema, and photographer, Misan Harriman, discussed the future of fashion, the potential of rental for the menswear market, and how it helps the circularity of fashion and sustainability within the industry.
Leading the conversation, Jane Shepherdson said: “I had a rental epiphany a couple of years ago, when I realised it was pretty much the only thing that still allowed me to enjoy fashion without feeling guilty about the damage it was doing to the planet. It also gives everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of wearing a beautifully designed and exquisitely produced piece of clothing they wouldn’t normally able to afford.”
Dylan Jones was asked, now that women have embraced rental, did he think his GQ readers were ready for it too? He said: “Regardless of what we think, these things are driven by the consumer, and if our consumers are interested in something you don’t have to pay lip service, you have to react and respond in a way that suits them.
“They can get their media anywhere these days, and if you are going to have a relationship with someone, you have to be honest about your ambitions and also about the way that you make up your own company. They are not just ready for it, they are looking for reasons not to consume, and if you let them down they will wander off, they will be gone.”
Asked if he thought rental for men is a good idea, James Norton commented: “The idea that you can consider something of really high quality and you can test drive it before you buy it, which hasn’t been offered before, is fantastic.”
Giving his opinion, Misan Harriman, said: “I think living for experiences is going to be much more important. With the mental health ramifications of the year that we have all had, I think none of us are okay, and simple things that we’ve all taken for granted are becoming much more important.
“When we are unshackled from the confines of our homes, I think that both men and women are going to actually make that extra effort to treat themselves and, whether it’s renting things, or just not taking things like our fashion choices as if they were a given, it's definitely going to happen.”
When asked if there is still hope for us and the planet, sustainability advocate Wilson Oryema, commented: “I think it’s a very defeatist mindset to resolve yourself to the end when you’re still alive and breathing, and I’m always positive and always optimistic about what we can do as a collective human race.”
The full discussion is now available to be viewed here.