The Changing World of Fashion

Our shopping world is changing. In recent years there has been a shift in our relationship with buying new, owning, buying secondhand and sharing.There are wiser choices for your wallet and for our use of natural resources. We rent cars, holiday apartments, rooms, garden equipment - we buy and sell secondhand online - we can share rather than always own. 

With the news that Love Island has partnered with Ebay to clad their contestants in second hand clothing, a new lens has been put on the steadily blossoming preloved market. Going are the days where we looked at the secondhand items as tatty fashion choices from years gone by. 

Here at Comhla, we herald this. We are charting a new trend, away from disposable fast fashion towards durability in design, fashion that is produced to last and be loved. The solutions like preloved sellers, menders and repairers, rental and loaning providers - these are businesses that can thrive while help prolong fashion’s life. 

Finding Value in The Things We Already Own

It is estimated that the average Briton's wardrobe contains 152 items, of which just 44 per cent are worn regularly. That amounts to a huge amount of clothing left unworn and unused within every person’s wardrobe. Whatever the reason, (perhaps it no longer fits, perhaps it is out of style, perhaps it was worn once for a wedding and has been in your wardrobe ever since waiting for that next occasion). No matter how frugal a shopper or how curated a closet, there are always those pieces that have less wear than one would have liked.

But what if we told you there was value in that? That we are each sitting on a trove of items, storing possibilities, hanging neatly within our rails? 

The Rise of Secondhand 

Its 2022, and its official, the rise of rental and resale is soaring. New technologies and trends are emerging that are disrupting how we shop. As we wake up to the fact that the items, we have in our closets hold intrinsic value, not just in saving the planets’ resources, but in style, substance and community value, this new trend is disrupting how we find unique finds and interact with the brands that we love 

The way we enjoy fashion is changing and it has never been so easy to buy, shop and rent the fashion we already have. 

In 2021, it is estimated that secondhand shopping displaced nearly 1 billion new clothing purchases, according to research conducted by ThredUp. In the same study, 70% of consumers said it’s easier to shop secondhand than it was 5 years ago, thanks to the emergence of technology and online marketplaces.

According to Ebay, in 2021, the equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses worth of fashion items were saved from landfill thanks to secondhand sales. 

With more apps and opportunities to enjoy secondhand, the top three benefits customers identify of shopping secondhand include: saving money, affording higher-end brands and finding one-of-a-kind items. In particular, second hand is a great and easy way to afford sustainable brands when you are on a budget and searching for these items in resale platforms can save ££s from the item’s original price. 

For those who love a fashion fix, this new way of enjoying fashion comes with less of the guilt. There’s also lots of knock-on benefits - if you loan from someone or buy directly person to person, you are supporting them,  women lifting women up. Same if you buy from one of the many small and independent preloved sellers - you are sending a signal of support for small and independent businesses and challenging the status quo of the big brands. #shopindependent

“Closets today are filled with secondhand as we’ve collectively embraced a more circular mindset and learned to do more with less” Julia Gall, Fashion Stylist and Writer.

Introducing Rental

But its not just about the resale. Disruptive new models are moving into the market and there is no need to buy or sell the clothes you love. Think about that friend who has all the most amazing items in their wardrobe that you always wanted to borrow? Well, there is an app for that now. 

Fashion for Rent or Swap or Loan is on the rise. Gone are the days where one buys an item for an occasion, only to let it sit in our wardrobes gathering dust ever since. 

As we reconnect with the importance of the fashion we already own, rental services are growing in prominence. Simply choose the item, have it delivered, wear it and send it back. 

A recent campaign by rental platform, ByRotation, highlighted just how impactful and lucrative this could be for our wallets (and our social scene). One of their users generated £18, 738 from lending out their wardrobes.

Resale and rental is an exciting and fast moving space within the fashion industry, with new options and ways to try it springing up all the time. Why not browse our Extend section - it is regularly updated with curated preloved and rental styles and we’d love to hear how you find it.