In the current age of fast fashion and a growing concern for the environmental impacts our buying choices have, it makes sense that we as consumers are being encouraged to repair, re-wear, and rent, rather than continuously buying brand new. And while a number of dedicated rental clothing services have launched with this in mind, certain long-standing brands are also taking note and beginning to make changes too.
One such brand is H&M, which is now now trialing a rental option in its flagship Stockholm store. The service will allow shoppers to rent up to 50 pieces per month, and either return them within a selected time frame, or buy them to keep. As well as a garment maximum, there is also a spending cap of 350 kronor (£29.36) a week.
The only current downside is that the service will only be available in Stockholm in one store, and those wishing to use it must be part of H&M’s loyalty programme.
News of H&M’s latest moves comes shortly after a recent United Nations report that revealed the fashion industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the world and it is also responsible for 10 per cent of the carbon footprint of the world.
H&M has come under fire previously for its attitude toward fast fashion, with its practices questioned in terms of how ethically progressive they and their factories are.
However, this first step into clothes rental is of course a positive one, and follows in the footsteps of other high street retailers including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Free People and Banana Republic have also launched a rental service called Style Passport.
H&M has not yet announced whether it will be rolling out this service to other stores in Sweden, or if it will be coming to the UK and other countries, but we’ll be keeping our fingers firmly crossed.