Marks & Spencer will start renting capsule wardrobes of 10 different outfits for up to a month, promising a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way for shoppers to change up their look on a regular basis.
Five-, six- or seven-piece womenswear collections, with names like Comfy Cool, which includes faux fur leggings, a hoodie and baseball cap, and Monochrome Moments, which features a black-and-white print dress and a black padded vest. it can be rented through specialist site Hirestreet from £39 per capsule for five days.
A total of 78 women’s clothing items, including jeans, footwear and accessories, would be included in the scheme.
An ensemble from the Marks & Spencer capsule wardrobe rental collection. Photography: Marks & Spencer
M&S said it was expanding its partnership with Hirestreet, through which it began renting out individual items a year ago, as a third of its shoppers said they wanted to change the way they shop for clothes due to concerns about climate change.
The fashion industry has been found to contribute more to climate change than the aviation and maritime industries combined. If current purchasing trends continue, it could account for a quarter of the global carbon budget by 2050.
One in 10 under 35s have chosen to try rental services as part of that shift, and one in 20 of all consumers.
Some questions have been raised about whether renting is greener, and a study suggests it could be worse for the environment than throwing away items. However, that study assumed purchased items were used 200 times before being thrown away, when some fast fashion items are only worn once or twice.
Comfy Cools, part of the M&S rental capsule collection. Photography: Marks & Spencer
Richard Price, M&S’s managing director of clothing and home, said: “This season is not just about what we offer, but how – this is just one of the ways we are working to support customers hoping to reduce their carbon footprint”. .”
M&S has joined with retailers from Selfridges to Primark to experiment with ways to reduce the climate impact of fashion retail as consumers turn to second-hand items or cut spending amid growing awareness of the environmental cost.
Fashion spending is also under pressure from economic concerns, as the cost-of-living crisis inflates energy and food bills, leaving households with less to spend on discretionary items.
Sign up to business today
Get ready for the workday – we’ll bring you all the business news and analysis you need every morning.
The second-hand clothing market is expected to grow faster than fast fashion in the coming years, as the rise of Depop, Vinted and Facebook’s marketplace make it easy to trade unwanted items.
Popularized by the likes of Carrie Johnson, the former Prime Minister’s wife who rented her wedding dress, and TV presenter Holly Willoughby, clothes hire can also be much cheaper if only worn for a special occasion. A black leather dress from M&S, for example, is available for £35 for four days compared to its sale price of £250.
M&S also enables the rental and resale of children’s clothing through a partnership with Dotte and launched a clothing recycling partnership with Oxfam in 2008 that four years later became its Shwopping programme, which encourages customers to hand in a old garment when they buy a new one.