The term 'fast fashion' describes trendy clothing designed to be made and sold cheaply at breakneck speed, so shoppers can snap them up while they are still at the height of their popularity, and discard them after a few wears.
This cycle of overproduction and overconsumption is behind the success of some of the world's most popular high street brands, but it's also partly responsible for fashion's reputation as one of the most polluting industries in the world.
According to research published
by the UNEP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, and at the current rate, the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50% by 2030.
In 2000, 50 billion new garments were made; 19 years later, that figure doubled, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which adds that the average person bought 60% more clothing in 2019 than they did in 2000. Considering the resource-intensive nature of fashion production, it's especially disturbing that clothing that's barely or never been worn is making its way into landfills.
Extending the active life of garments can help reduce unnecessary textile waste. Second-hand shopping and fashion rentals follow the “reuse” component of the long-standing sustainability philosophy (along with “reduce” and “recycle”).
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Fashion rentals and second-hand clothing are not new concepts. Thrift stores have been around for ages – with some of them being an important source of funding for charitable organisations – while occasionwear rentals for weddings, dances or black tie events are still commonplace.
Now, these business models have become more mainstream, digitally-enabled and more sophisticated, both in terms of product and customer experience. Importantly, they're offering a solution to the conscious consumer who may want to add new styles to their wardrobe in a more sustainable manner.
These are three businesses slowing the lifecycle of fashion by championing rentals and resale in South Africa.
Luxity buys and sells pre-owned, authenticated luxury goods, focusing on handbags, shoes, accessories and watches from world-renowned brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi and Hermès.
The business started out as purely an online store, and then expanded into physical retail with the first Luxity store opening in Melrose Arch, Sandton in 2017 followed by a second boutique at the Cape Quarter in Cape Town in 2018.
Luxity's luxury goods are available both in-store and online.
Founders Luke Calitz and Michael Zahariev launched the retailer in 2015. While trying to sell his own luxury goods, Calitz realised that there was no safe and convenient way in South Africa to resell authentic luxury items. Mainstream resale platforms are often flooded with counterfeit goods and the sales negotiation process, depending on the person you’re dealing with, can be undesirable.
Through Luxity, Calitz and Zahariev, who are also the owners of digital agency B Online, have merged their love for luxury goods with their experience in online branding.
“Pre-owned shopping should be no less experiential than buying new. This is why Luxity was born: to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers with a reliable, trustworthy brand that offers a luxurious, safe and convenient way to buy and sell luxury goods in SA,” the founders said.
Products bought from Luxity come with a lifetime authenticity guarantee. Shoppers have the option to reserve items on a payment plan, which allows them to settle payments over 60 days. Customers can also use the Luxity’s online portal
to create interests to ensure they don’t miss out on one-of-a-kind items as they’re listed.
When selling to Luxity, sellers can take their items to one of the stores or submit items easily online. Offers on luxury items are mostly made same day, or within 48 hours for the latest.
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Style Rotate is a fashion rental platform, launched in November 2019, with a growing selection of stylish women’s fashion from local and international brands and designers. From power suits for important business meetings, or feminine frocks for weddings, Style Rotate offers fashion for a variety of social occasions, catering to women wearing sizes 6 to 24.
The business was designed as a solution to the unsustainable fast fashion model and the throw-away culture driven by overconsumption. Style Rotate aims to lengthen the lifespan of a garment by replacing mindless shopping with a rotating wardrobe of stylish outfits.
Style Rotate give renters access to their dream wardrobe. Credit: Niquita Bento
Style Rotate founders Cleo Marcopoulos and Natasha Liesner met as interns at a fashion magazine in 2013. Marcopoulos worked her way up to become Cosmopolitan
SA’s fashion director. She’s always been passionate about borrowing, lending and buying vintage and second-hand, so creating a business based on the sharing economy was a natural progression.
Having spent five years working as a buyer at one of SA’s largest retailers, Liesner experienced first-hand the wasteful practices involved in clothing production. This exposure inspired her decision to be part of the solution towards a more conscious fashion landscape.
“Our SR Girl loves fashion but believes in revolutionising the way she consumes it,” the founders told Bizcommunity
Style Rotate’s service runs entirely online, via the Style Rotate website
. Rentals occur over a period of four days, and Style Rotate covers dry cleaning, packaging and the delivery throughout SA. Rentals can also be booked up to six months in advance.
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Maven is an online pre-loved fashion store offering a selection of designer, boutique and high street clothing, accessories and footwear for women and kids.
The platform was created by Teri Macduff and her partner Jane McNamara, who met while working in advertising. Despite having no prior experience in fashion or retail, the pair shared a love for pre-loved fashion and a desire to create a businesses that supported the circular economy and the growth of sustainable fashion in South Africa.
Maven founders Teri Macduff and Jane McNamara recognised a gap for an online pre-loved clothing store with customer service at its core.
Maven was officially launched in November 2019. Through this online platform, Macduff and McNamara aim to bring a curated selection of stylish pieces to everyday South Africans at an affordable price point, with a customer experience driven by superior service.
The site allows shoppers to filter by size, product or category. For every piece sold, the company donates an item to The Clothing Bank, a local NPO that uses excess clothing donated by retailers and manufacturers to empower unemployed women through entrepreneurship.
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If you’re keen to earn some cash by selling your good quality pre-worn fashion to Maven, the company pays upfront 50% of the resale value in credit or 30% of the resale value in cash, minus a small handling fee.
Maven also offers sustainable styling and personal shopping events through their Maven Open House events. Maven will curate a collection based on the group’s specific sizes, styles and lifestyles.
To shop Maven’s range visit www.mavencollection.co.za
. To sell through Maven, contact Jane McNamara at az.oc.noitcellocnevam@enaj