How sustainable is your wardrobe? Jessica Carroll challenges fashion’s eco credentials
Bag, £189 to rent for three days, Chanel, frontrow.uk.com
This arrives in a leatherette garment bag which you can also use to pack your return. While the vinyl-based material isn’t eco-friendly, it’s durable and designed to be reused over and over again.
The UK rental market – which is estimated to grow to £2.3 billion by 2029 – has come under fire for its over-reliance on transport for delivery and returns. However, Front Row customers have the option of picking up their rental items in Fenwick stores in London and Newcastle, reducing transport emissions.
This Chanel bag would set you back £2,600 but can be yours for just £189 (well, for three days anyway) when you rent it from ‘luxury-to-loan’ company Front Row. While its materials – velvet and metal hardware – aren’t particularly sustainable, the fact that the bag is rented should help reduce the demand for new clothing and accessories.
Front Row’s rental items are purchased directly from the brands, so it has no control over where – or by who – these are made. Chanel scored only 11 out of 100 in campaign group Fashion Revolution’s 2021 Fashion Transparency Index – meaning it is secretive about its supply chain.
The Extra Mile
Renting from Front Row – especially occasionwear, which is sometimes worn just once – means a big-ticket bag or dress is ‘shared’ between customers. The company also has concessions in Fenwick in London and Newcastle, so pieces can be tried in person before customers commit. Or find the piece you love on the website (frontrow.uk.com) and request it for the period that suits you. On the final day, repackage, stick on the prepaid label and book a collection.
The rental market is already going a long way towards making the clothing industry more sustainable. Front Row doesn’t have any figures yet, but according to data from US loan company Rent the Runway, over ten years its model has displaced the production of 1.3 million new garments, leading to savings of 67 million gallons of water and 44.2 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
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