How we can transform the fashion industry by renting

Workwear, Work wardrobeOne time, my friend had a party to go to but nothing to wear as the theme was ‘red’. She asked me if she could borrow a red dress that I wore once years ago – I said, yes, of course, and realised that I had worn the dress just once in three years.

I spoke to my friend Tommi Salonen – who eventually became my co-founder – and we began discussing the problems in the current fashion market; the issue of fast fashion and how people will buy clothes more than they will ever use, even if their closets are full. People want to buy and wear more, but our environment can’t handle it. Even though the problems about the fast fashion market are being heavily discussed, brands are still pushing out several new trends a year, and social media creates a need for consumers to constantly purchase these changing trends.

Tommi had read about a French company that had rented watches, and so came up with the idea of clothes rental as a result of my story. If people had the option to rent clothes, then it means they would buy less, but they have the ability to wear more. The lure of having something new can be achieved with clothing rental without harming the environment. For this reason, we decided to set up our own online clothing rental business – now known as Clozeta.

Clozeta is an online clothing rental platform that provides our customers with an unlimited closet featuring premium Nordic brands such as Filippa K, Baum und Pferfgarten, and Malene Birger, through monthly subscription or a one-time rental. In a monthly subscription customers can choose any three items for 79 Euros a month, for a one-time rental the price is based on the original price of the garment.

In the spring of this year, we also launched Clozeta Preloved, where we buy high quality second-hand clothes and rent them out. In this model, the customer fills out a survey about her preferences, sizes, and everything about her clothing style and we send her four second-hand items based on the survey – this service is 29 Euros per month. The customer can change their clothing box once a month for free if the style didn’t match.

The amount of clothing and textile waste globally is shocking, so we make sure that every garment will be used as many times as possible and does not end up in people’s closets or in landfill. We take care of each garment by repairing them when needed and every item is washed carefully and as ecologically as possible. Once our garments are no longer suitable for rent, we do our best to extend the lifecycle of our garments further, for example, we sell these items in a second-hand store or our customers have a chance to buy their favorites.

I feel like I was born to be an entrepreneur, but my Master’s at Aalto University School of Business helped me in setting up my business. My major is in Marketing, but I ended up having Fashion Management as my Master’s minor and that was the best decision of my life – the minor is a combination of the creative side and the business side of the fashion industry.

At Aalto, we discover all kinds of movements in fashion and in the industry but the most value for Clozeta comes from the current topics. There have been lectures about the second-hand market and even about clothing rental itself, it feels incredible to be able to study the specific topics that I’m working on myself.

It has helped me to be apart of the solution. At Clozeta we believe that there’s no need to point one’s finger at others and their consumption habits. Instead, we need solutions and these solutions must be provided by social systems and companies. We combine two megatrends: second-hand and sharing economy, and we want to be the solution for a better future in fashion.

Katariina JärvinenAbout the author

Katariina Järvinen is Master’s in Marketing student at Aalto University School of Business and founder of a rental clothes company, Clozeta, that aims to make textile consumption more sustainable. She is passionate about making the fashion industry more sustainable as it is the second most polluting sector in the world.

 


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