We all like to think of ourselves as being more eco-conscious, whether it’s making a commitment to cutting down on car journeys or arming ourselves with reusable coffee cups. Another area we can make a difference in is our wardrobes.
The eco-credentials of the fashion industry have, up until recently, been questionable. However, as brands continue to prioritise sustainable practices, consumers are equally looking at ways to make smarter choices in what they wear. And one of the simplest things a fashion lover can do is to simply buy less.
As a result, the high-fashion rental industry has quietly boomed over the past decade. Not only does rental make designer fashion more accessible, it also helps minimise carbon footprint. This is the philosophy of My Wardrobe HQ, a sustainable fashion rental platform. Launched in 2019, the concept is simple: customers can peruse a range of designer clothes and accessories from covetable brands such as Alexander McQueen and Chanel and rent them for up to 14 days. If they decide they want to keep any of the items, they also have the option to buy.
Originally launching for women, and later offering a children’s line, this year’s partnership with luxury British brand Belstaff kicks off the company’s inaugural menswear collection.
‘Rental is going from strength to strength in the womenswear market, and menswear is an obvious next step – in fact 30% of our existing database are men so we know that the demand is there,’ explains My Wardrobe HQ chair, Jane Shepherdson. ‘Belstaff were our first choice of launch partner, as we wanted to offer something that is very different to the traditional “event” dressing that the men’s rental market is known for. We couldn’t be prouder of this partnership with Belstaff, a brand that is synonymous with long-lasting quality and expert craftsmanship.’
The partnership officially launched at this year’s London Fashion Week with a live panel discussion on environmental responsibility and sustainability attended by GQ editor in chief Dylan Jones, Belstaff Ambassador James Norton, founder of What We See Misan Harriman and sustainability advocate Wilson Oryema.
Belstaff is the effortlessly cool brand for bikers and adventurers, and has been worn by everyone from David Beckham to Che Guevara and Steve McQueen. It was founded almost a century ago by Eli Belovitch, a pioneering fabric manufacturer whose breathable and durable waxed cotton material was originally used in military tarpaulin. As Belstaff has steadily grown from an independent store in the north of England to a global brand, its signature hardy fabrics and stylish silhouettes endure.
Through this new partnership, men can now rent a classic Trialmaster Jacket or dabble in alternative Belstaff styles, such as the waxed leather Trialmaster counterpart, the Trialmaster Panther, or the café racer-inspired Kelland. Should “try” lead to “buy”, then customers can be safe in the knowledge that they are purchasing quality made investment pieces designed to last. Belstaff offers a rewaxing and repair service on all its outerwear garments, so that even after years of wear and tear they will look as good as new.
‘We think the rental opportunity is a really interesting one for a brand like ours where our Icon pieces really are investments that we hope will last people a lifetime,’ says Belstaff CEO Fran Millar. ‘Making a purchase decision like that can take careful consideration and what better way than to try it out in your own life before deciding to make the commitment. We are proud to be the launch partner for My Wardrobe HQ’s men’s offering, promoting a circular fashion economy.’