The slow shift into conscious consumption.
Meet Amy Tappin, connoisseur of style and sustainability and owner of the new rental company in Dubai called rent.edit. In our exclusive interview, Tappin explains the gap in the MENA market around fashion rentals. In her view, if society embraced product sharing such as with Uber and Air BnB, why can’t we share clothes too? Explore her thoughts below on the future of fashion renting in the region.
1. Why has it taken so long to normalize the concept of renting clothes in Dubai in your opinion? What are the stigmas or cultural innuendos?
Changing consumer behaviours is never easy and takes time. There remains some negative stigma attached to renting due to people’s perceptions of what the second-hand market and clothing rental hire may have represented in the past, but I believe we can change that. In 2008 we started renting cars through Uber and 2009 started sharing peoples’ houses with Air BnB, so why not fashion?
The clothing rental market is set to significantly grow over the next four years. It is already big in the US, Australia and Asia and up and coming in the last few years in the UK, but no one is really doing it in Dubai! There’s an exciting future for fashion rental and the narrative is changing.
2. Why is it beneficial for society and what is the sustainability factor?
It allows women to experiment with their style and try new things from cool, sustainable and emerging brands. Our items retail from AED 500-2500 but the customer can rent for AED 200 and experience the same joy and quality of clothing, without the price tag, while reducing waste and continuing to drive a shift to a more circular fashion economy.
The sustainable space can be a difficult one to navigate. All in all we need to consume less! While there is no set formula to a sustainable wardrobe, there’s no doubt renting existing products instead of buying new from a fast fashion brand is a more sustainable option. We can’t be truly sustainable without protecting the planet and people. Every time you rent with us, 10% of the cost will go to the clean clothes campaign, improving working conditions in the global garment industry.
3. Who does renting appeal to most in MENA?
rent.edit was created to be an inclusive platform for women of all ages and sizes across the region. It’s for anyone wanting to have fun with their style and those who want to shop more consciously. The millennial generation value access to products over the ownership of it, with more focus on the values associated to the brand or service. With every new generation, the desire for sustainability only grows; I don’t doubt Gen Z will be paving the way to a greener future.
4. What needs to change in order for the renting space to become more prevalent and accepted here?
It needs to be more accessible and inclusive to cater to more sizes, styles and modesty. We need a cooler brand in the region like rent.edit to offer a contemporary edit that is more wearable for everyday as well as special occasions, to create a sense of community and fun.
People are starting to care more about sustainability, where their clothes come from and the impacts of that on people and planet, but customers still want convenience, affordability and style! Searching for sustainable fashion options can take more time, effort and money but with rent.edit, that work is done for you.
We need to rethink our purchase habits and the way we consume clothes. 100 billion garments are being produced globally every year, as per McKinsey & Company. If we can change the view of ownership without taking away the joy of ‘shopping’ women can say ‘thanks, I rented it’ with pride!
5. How did you get into this space?
I have been a stylist in the fashion industry for the past 8 years and am passionate about conscious consumption. I felt there was a gap in the market for clothing rental in Dubai! I want to help create systemic change in the industry by authentically raising awareness and by creating a rent.edit community.
6. What is your goal in starting rent.edit?
My Goal in starting rent.edit is to make the fashion economy more circular and provide an inclusive platform for all women to consume more sustainably. I wanted to find a solution in the region to allow women to have fun with their style, to get access to cool good quality pieces without the price tag or negative impact on planet or people.
About the Editor
UK native Saja is deeply motivated by emerging social and political concerns around sustainability. The young freelance writer enjoys writing about the intersection of sustainability, fashion and social justice.