In a world increasingly concerned with its environmental impact, the current consumer society is fighting a losing battle. Next generation customers are demanding a change to the way we shop; sustainable shopping is no longer a luxury, it’s a demand that retailers and brands alike must meet if they want to stay in business.
For the fashion industry, this means big changes. Fast fashion is the latest environmental issue, and shows no sign of slowing down. Fuelled by the need to show off on Instagram and other social media platforms, the average consumer is buying more and paying less; cheap production processes have a larger environmental impact, and cheap online retailers Boohoo and Missguided have been called on to reduce their carbon, water and waste footprint by the UK parliament.
Leading the way to a sustainable future are brands like Wear the Walk, where you can create a revolving wardrobe of high fashion rentals suited to your taste and lifestyle. We asked the brand’s CEO and founder Zoe Partridge about the next generation shopper.
What’s your demographic like?
It’s less about how old, where they work, or live. It’s now about attitude. We work with women of all ages, locations and demographic make-up that want to consume in a new way, they want a disruptive non-ownership model because they’re exhausted with perpetual buying. The woman that wants to wear instead of just buy is our demographic.
Why should women rent clothes instead of buying and keeping them forever?
It’s sustainable, allows you to wear and experience luxury fashion without worrying that you’ll wear it a handful of times, and it allows our customers to experiment with their style- they can consume at the same rate but without the guilt or need to spend lots of money.
Why did you feel the need to create your company? What gap did you see in the fashion market?
The death of traditional retail has been an underlying issue for a few years, women just don’t value personal luxury in the same way they used to. So, there is definitely a shift towards a lack of ownership model. On a personal level I felt very strongly that I was extremely unsustainable in my shopping habits, but stuck in a vicious cycle where there weren’t any viable alternatives to buying fast fashion or investing huge amounts on clothes I wanted.
Does your company provide an answer to the economic and environmental problems of fast fashion?
Wear the Walk is by no means the perfect solution, but I strongly believe that we are helping the issues of fast fashion through promoting “super-cycling” (up cycling and sharing clothing) through the rental model. We’ve got a long way to go, and renting is just one solution- but hopefully one that has the longevity to make a difference long-term.
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