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Peer-to-peer clothing rentals could be the next big trend in fashion

Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 3:07 PM -

We've all been there -- gobs upon gobs of little black dresses, blouses, pleated skirts, coats, and boots in our closet and yet nothing to wear. It's the fashion plague that gets the best of every woman. 

Sure, you can always call up your best trend-hoarding friend and ask to borrow her latest #ootd (for those not on social media, that stands for 'outfit of the day'), but what if she's not always willing to share her latest and greatest duds? 

In comes young, French entrepreneur Fiona Disegni. Like many women, Disegni yearned to shake up her wardrobe, but didn't always have the wallet to follow her desires.

(Image: Sarah (Rosenau) Korf; Flickr)

(Image: Sarah (Rosenau) Korf; Flickr)

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Instead of feeling defeated, she decided to channel her frustration into a revolutionary business by birthing a peer-to-peer wardrobe-sharing company, cleverly named Rentez-Vous

"Instead of buying and getting bored, why not renting other girls’ clothes?" said Disegni in an interview with Made in Shoreditch Magazine. "This idea started after my stay in Singapore when I was picking all my roommates’ clothes. Coming back to Paris, I realized that I had half of the clothes I thought and that there should be a service allowing us simply to get new clothes!" 

Mindful that she is part of an age of increasing conspicuous consumption, the marketing and advertising graduate set out to revolutionize the way people dress and to connect like-minded, environmentally conscious individuals. 

"For us rental is a way to get access without the guilt," she explained in the article Nothing to wear? Peer-to-Peer Fashion Rental Start-up Could Help, published on The Guardian. "You can get it wrong, you can fall in love, or you can keep – we are not against buying, we are more against waste."

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(Image: Millmoorjuniors.co.uk)

(Image: Millmoorjuniors.co.uk)

Indeed, the idea of recycling old clothing is nothing new. However, Rentez-Vous is the first of its kind to bring the concept of 'collaborative consumption' to the forefront of fashion in such a unique way. 

"The environmental dimension is critical: Our goal is to prevent people from wasting resources by finding new alternatives to traditional shopping habits," she continued. 

And she's certainly on the right track. According to WRAP figures, extending the life cycle of clothing by just three months reduces the carbon footprint by 8%, water consumption by 10% and waste by 9%. That number jumps nearly three times once extended by nine months. 

DON'T LET WINTER GET YOU DOWN: Here's how to stay chic in winter staples

(Image: Rentez-Vous.fr/en/)

(Image: Rentez-Vous.fr/en/)

For now, Rentez-Vous is solely events-based (akin to a pop-up shop) in London and Paris. To participate, individuals pay an entrance fee to bring their clothes to rent. The rental fee is set at 15% of the original retail value for one week's hire. The big-bucks, however, come from designers, who hire a stall at each event giving them direct access to consumers and a new revenue stream: Rentez-Vous charges 30% for the all-access pass, and if renters decide to buy the garment afterwards, the company takes an additional 20% from the sale.

To see how the process works be sure to check out the video demonstration featured above. 

What you can do to reduce your carbon footprint 

It's more than likely that most of us won't make it to one of Disegni's pop-up events, but that doesn't mean we can't be inspired by the idea and begin to really pay attention to our habits.

Here are a few suggestions to help get you started: 

  • Check to see if clothes really need washing between wearing. Less washing means clothes last longer, and saves water and energy. 60% of the energy associated with a piece of clothing is spent in washing and drying it. Over its lifetime, a T shirt can account for 9 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions. (Cambridge University's Institute of Manufacturing) 
  • Washing clothes at 40°C instead of at 60°C can reduce CO2 emissions by half. (Onlineclothingstudy.com
  • According to Canadian Living magazine, the average Canadian throws out 15 pounds of clothing a year. By mending, donating or hosting a clothing swap with your friends can help reduce the number. Check out your local thrift store and save! 

To find a thrift store near you, click here.

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