H&M to trial clothes rental service for shoppers

Caroline Allen
It will only be available in Stockholm for the time being. [Photo: H&M]

H&M has announced its plans to trial a clothes rental service to shoppers in bid to up its sustainability game.

It’ll start by trialling the service at its flagship Sergels Torg store is Stockholm when it reopens after refurbishment. It will also offer people the chance to have their clothes mended or upgraded with a dedicated repair service and a separate beauty bar.

To start, the trial will only be available to H&M’s loyalty scheme members. They’ll be able to rent from the store’s Conscious Exclusive Collections - a selection of sustainably sourced garments - for £28 per item.

There’s currently no plans to extend the service into the UK, but the fashion chain will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the success of the trial.

H&M will offer rental services of clothing - including occasional wear and wedding dresses. [Photo: H&M]

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The announcement comes after growing global scrutiny of the fashion industry. A recent United Nations report found that the fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions - that’s more than international flights and shipping combined.

The Swedish company is following in the footsteps of the likes of Urban Outfitters, which launched similar services earlier this year.

“We are really excited to try out rentals for the first time and inspire our customers to look at fashion in a circular way.” Maria Östblom, head of womenswear design, said.

“Our Conscious Exclusive collections are made from sustainably sourced materials, so we feel they are perfect to kick off this trial with”

READ MORE: How to be a sustainable parent

A first look collection showcases two wedding dresses available to rent. [Photo: H&M]

If the first items available for rent are anything to go by, it seems H&M is focusing on occasional wear - such as cocktail dresses and wedding guest dresses to begin with.

This vision is in-keeping with the rise in rental services like Crease Online and Front Row which specialise in primarily designer clothing for particular occasions.

The Conscious Exclusive Collection also includes two wedding dresses which will be available for brides-to-be to rent.

By 2040, H&M intends to offset more greenhouse gas emissions than it produces. It has already reduced C02 emissions by 11%, but has ambitious plans for the future.

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Unfortunately, the average shopper - or tourist *cancels plane ticket* won’t be able to just rock up to H&M Stockholm and take advantage of the rental service.

It makes sense that only loyalty card holders will be entitled to this service - given that the store has to have some way of knowing who is taking items out.

The dream? To go on holiday knowing you can rent all of your clothes when you get there. Say goodbye to tirelessly trying to pack all of your clothes into hand luggage.

The future - hopefully - is rented, and we’re really quite excited by the prospect.

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