We are pleased to launch our new Rental Program.
Is renting the future of more sustainable consumption? We give it a try. We’ll see! Our clothes will be used many times, for many adventures, and for even longer. This way if you want to rent your first Picture products!
Otherwise, here are our thoughts about renting:
Aubin, a cool, minimalist Swede, is going shopping in the year 2000. He buys 8 items from a variety of hip brands. It weighs out at about 3 kg, which is the annual average amount of clothing a Swede buys in 2000. He wears and keeps 7 of those items; 1 shirt he throws out.
We’re now in 2019. Aubin’s son, another cool, minimalist Swede, is going shopping several times a year. He buys 35 items from a variety of hip brands. It weighs out at about 14 kg, which is the annual average amount of clothing a Swede buys in 2019. He wears and keeps 15 of those items, the other 20 items he doesn’t use by throwing them out, donating them to a local charity, or letting them sit in his closet until they become on trend again.
The latter is our current fashion model. There’s high consumption for little usage. We buy to wear once, or let it sit in our closets, or toss it in order to get the new collection. Fast fashion, on average, puts out a new collection every 6 weeks. Despite how fashionable we all may look, there are serious issues with this.
We need to implement models that keep clothing in use for longer, simply a better plan for the planet. It’s why we make our products durable and have a lifetime guarantee program. But there’s more to do than just that. Services that “slow the loop” and keep products in circulation are key. To do this, we need programs like refurbishment, reuse, upcycle and what we are trying – rental
Our rental service will allow people to rent our snow jackets and pants for whatever their needs. Family ski holiday in February – rent kids outerwear for 1 week. Weekend mountain getaway in January – rent a jacket. The program’s purpose is twofold: one, to get multiple uses out of our products and two, give an affordable option to those who want to get out on the snow.
Mountain activities, especially winter sports, can be expensive. If someone goes on ski holiday once this year, they have to cost together accommodations, travel, passes, food, apres-ski budget. It adds up. Then, to purchase one outfit for one time, can be unreasonable and make our passion sports inaccessible to many.
Affordability is not the only reason to why we are launching a rental program. We think it’s potentially a way to lower our environmental footprint and influence the industry to look into different models of “slowing the loop”.
But… is it good for the environment?
To be honest, we don’t know. Everyday fashion rental is a relatively new area; academic studies and experiences of other brands have reached various conclusions. We have heard:
“Although a decrease in garment production is beneficial, the associated transport needed to facilitate one garment rental creates a high impact that could reduce the PSS’s (rental) potential for environmental impact savings.”(Johnson & Plepys, 2021)
“Rental could play a critical role in shifting the industry towards a less resource intensive model, through incentivising higher production standards and greater garment longevity. Purchase displacement rate must be considered as a key metric when assessing potential environmental benefits.”(Fashion for Good, 2019)
“The environmental savings potential that a PSS (rental) can have is influenced heavily by how consumers choose to engage with rental BMs (business models). This is shown in how many times consumers use garments, how they use rental to substitute or complement their purchasing or use needs, and how they choose to travel to rental store locations.”(Johnson & Plepys, 2021)
There’s a fair amount of if’s, and’s, and but’s when it comes to the environmental impact of rental. These variables have been taken into consideration during the launch of our rental program, causing some fierce (and nerdy) debates about effective climate action in the fashion industry. After this 1st season, we plan to evaluate central points like transport, consumer use, durability, and affordability.
Yet we see potential in a rental service.
Why? The math:
In the first model, emissions from production, transport, and end-of-life are times 5. In the latter, it’s only times 1. Of course, this is a bit of a caricature. But we want to highlight the point that, ultimately, renting could reduce the textile industry’s volume of production.
Also, it has been said that “Wearing a garment twice as long would lower greenhouse gas emissions from clothing by 44%.” (Bedat, 2021). But if we have 5 times as many people wear a garment over more seasons, we would think that also lowers emissions. There’re 3 positives that we see with rental:
1. This can become a way to decrease production volumes over the years, especially specific-use products that you don’t need often, like snow pants and technical jackets. This means less energy used to manufacture the products, and therefore fewer emissions.
2. Another way to interact with you: our customers, our community, our fellow riders. The more we engage and talk about things related to climate change, especially potential solutions (on a small scale, fully recognizing that rental is another drop in the bucket), the more we can act together.
3. Exploring something new. It’s in Picture’s blood to turn away from the traditional way, to innovate, to sought new experiences.
Lastly, at Picture, we always try to see the big picture. Rental is a step to diversifying our business. It’s a step towards more recirculation programs. It’s a step towards achieving our mission.
Johnson & Plepys (2021). Product-Service Systems and Sustainability: Analysing the Environmental Impacts of Rental Clothing. Sustainability 13.
Fashion for Good & Accenture Strategy (2019). The Future of Circular Fashion: Assessing the Viability of Circular Business Models.
Beall, A. (2020). Why clothes are so hard to recycle. BBC.
Bedat, M. (2021). See the horrifying place where your old clothes do to die. Fast Company.
Changing Markets Foundation (2021). Fossil Fashion.