Is Renting Fashion Sustainable?

"Fashion’s biggest environmental crime lies in overproduction." - Elizabeth Cline (aka Goddess of Fashion Sustainability)


Under the damaging impact of pollution produced by fast fashion, rental platforms seem to be a better choice for sustainability; or so it seems as platforms like Rent the Runway and Gwynnie Bee tout that renting will combat fast fashion and expand the life and value clothes. However, as we immerse ourselves in the environmentally friendly ideas promoted by clothing rental platforms, have we considered whether these platforms are truly sustainable? This is the question Elizabeth Cline, writer of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, is prompting and has given her answer to the question in her recent article with Elle magazine. Elizabeth claims the environmental pitfalls in the business model of rental fashion need to be considered. The volume of deliveries and returns and the excessive dry cleaning contributes to massive amounts of energy waste and carbon dioxide pollution which can't be ignored.


For the returns and deliveries, Elizabeth states that the whittle emissions of these activities may cause higher pollution than regular delivery of fast fashion clothing. The low recycling rate of cardboard boxes in most rental services ship is also a huge waste of resources. What's more, dry cleaning requires more energy than our own laundry rooms and may cause harmful gas to the air. Precisely why Tulerie has never supported packaging in our business model and why we added a “search nearby” feature to make shipping obsolete in some cases.

One more environmental risk mentioned by Elizabeth is that rentable fashion will increase our appetite for clothes. She says platforms like Rent the Runway are better described as access-based consumption platforms that use the reduced price and a great selection of goods to motivate consumption. The potential harm of it may encourage people to consume more clothes, and the life of clothes may be shorter. Tulerie's business model stands behind the 3 R's: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reducing consumption is our first goal.


So, what can we do to step further into real efforts of change? As Elizabeth states in the Elle article: "All of the researchers I spoke to agreed on one thing: wearing what’s already in your closet is the most sustainable way to get dressed. The rental model of Tulerie allows users to borrow clothes most sustainably. It can also help the owner of closets to increase the utilization of their clothes. With Tulerie, users can fulfill their adoration for the fashion industry through selected designer brands and support the environmentally friendly movement." We're blushing. Thanks Elizabeth for recognizing the power of this platform.


We encourage everyone to read the Elle article, it’s incredibly eye-opening and Elizabeth Cline is a necessary voice in the age of fashion sustainability.