Fashion rental’s future is locally peer-to-peer

type - big idea
Big Idea
category - sustainability
sector - fashion
sector - retail
Jen Charon, co-founder of Loanhood, explains why peer-to-peer interactions and fashion trends within local communities will drive the future of clothing rental

Let's begin with an introduction to Loanhood – what is it and what was the inspiration behind its creation?

Loanhood is a peer-to-peer fashion rental app. Our target audience is the creative classes, leaning towards Generation Z. My three co-founders and I all have a history of working in the fashion industry and are very conscious of sustainability issues.

We wanted to bring rental to people like us, who love fashion, express themselves through fashion and found their communities through style. We don't want people to be deprived of creativity, self-expression and joy – but we also don't want the fashion industry to continue in the way it is.

Whether a person wants to loan their clothes or rent something, what are the benefits of using the platform?

The overarching idea with Loanhood is to offer more fashion with less impact on the pocket and the planet. And that means people get access to more clothing without it damaging the planet because they’re not buying new every time. Also, it gives people the opportunity to make some money from their wardrobes. We're building a sustainable system where people can keep enjoying fashion, but in a way that is different from the take, wear and chuck version that we've been operating in and living with.

Arguably, some fashion rental services have been slow to catch on – especially with the pandemic making people wary of sharing. How are you addressing the barriers against adoption?

Rental services started mostly offering designer pieces, which isn’t always desirable or accessible to people. For us, a mix of high street, designer and vintage is the thing that was almost key to our concept. We offer the option of renting single items and whole outfits or looks. In this way, we can bring the affordability and accessibility aspects of rental to a much wider audience.

Published by:

29 June 2021

Author: Abi Buller

Image: Loanhood

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Loanhood

With your audience in mind, a key aspect of Loanhood is that it connects its community of users at a local level. How will this work?

Through the app, people will be able to upload the clothing they own, deliver items to renters or meet in person. Beyond lockdown [in the UK], there will be more opportunities for people to experience the community aspect of Loanhood. This will include ‘meet the loaner’ events and try-on sessions, as well as pop-ups. Maybe, eventually, we will have permanent sites where lenders and borrowers can meet each other.

Do you see Loanhood having a role in educating and promoting circularity to fashion consumers?

To begin with, we’re focusing on building a strong community – then we can educate people about sustainability issues. We're very aware that our early adopters will already have sustainability on their radar, but when we go beyond that, people may know very little about it. We’ve already been doing some events and panel discussions in this area too. Even though fashion rental is a sustainable thing to do, we also want people to do it because it’s fun.

‘In a post-lockdown world, we will have ‘meet the loaner’ events and try-on sessions – perhaps even permanent sites where users can meet each other’
Jen Charon, co-founder, Loanhood
 
 

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