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Sales of rental products soar even as hospitality closes its doors

Tom Shearsmith
23 October 2020

New research has shown that more than half of the UK population (56%) have items of clothing in their wardrobe that they plan to get rid of that they haven’t worn or plan to wear in the next six months, equating to 390 million items of clothing.

Prior to COVID-19, research showed that 350,000 tonnes of clothes, with an estimated value of £140 million was being sent to UK landfill every year. The new independent survey by fashion rental subscription The Devout has found that post-lockdown, this situation is in danger of becoming exponentially worse.

Leading the charge for new-in everyday wear for the autumn winter season is The Devout, who are focusing on clothing rental as a lifestyle with the phrase ‘wear it like you own it’.

The new collection features staple pieces for the colder months, including knitwear, jeans, jackets and coats from premium brands including Whistles, & Other Stories, Selected Femme, AllSaints and more.

The majority of wardrobes contain predominantly everyday casuals from knitwear, tops and jeans. More than 2 in 5 of those surveyed love having new clothing looks to wear (43%) and of these, three-fifths of 16-24 year olds (59%) and just over half of 25-34 year olds (52%) are the keenest to have new clothing to wear.

With the demand for ‘new’ still very much present, even during the pandemic, renting clothes for the everyday wardrobe is increasing in demand.

Lauren Vickers, The Devout’s Head of Content and Creative said: “Autumn is a key change for fashion. As tees and shorts become knits and jackets, people look to choose their new coat for the year as well as seasonal updates.

"Rental enables consumers to update their wardrobe with a number of new A/W trends including teddy fabrics, faux furs, checks and polka dots, by spending the same amount on a variety of different trends as they would purchasing just one. Fashion is one of the biggest polluters, so giving our consumers the option to rent their autumn choices, rather than buy them to wear one season, is set to make an increasing difference in circular fashion.”

Commenting on the new collection, Steve Bryant, founder of The Devout, told, “We know that as the colder days draw in fast, consumers look to update their wardrobe with the latest season – our new AW20 Rented collection sees our favourite pieces being made available – for the first time – as a rental item.

"Online fashion shopping has seen a consistent uplift as customers avoid physical shops, but still want the latest looks. Browsing for rental collections gives a safe way to shop, and helps customers shop more sustainability by renting rather than buying."

The Devout currently offers a fashion rental subscription for men and women providing designer and everyday wear to rent every month. For a monthly subscription fee of £79, customers choose five items from everyday essentials to high-end party wear, with premium brands, the latest designer staples and vintage items all on offer. At the end of the month, these are swapped for five fresh items.

Once the clothes can no longer be rented, they’ll be put in the outlet for sale. Any unsold items will be passed on to The Devout’s charity partner, Shelter.

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