As Britons’ shopping habits are dramatically altered as a result of the global pandemic, new Lincoln-based start-up The Devout is launching the UK’s first fashion rental subscription, offering a monthly service to help counteract the throwaway nature of the fast fashion industry.
Launching on 18th June, The Devout will provide designer and everyday menswear and womenswear to rent every month. For a monthly subscription fee of £79, choose five items from everyday essentials to high-end party wear, with premium brands, the latest designer staples and vintage items all on offer. At the end of the month, having worn them as much as you like, every item is swapped for five fresh items.
The Devout is aimed at fashion-savvy men and women in their 20s and 30s; designer casual, work wear, loungewear and evening wear are all on offer. Without the pressure of purchasing, people are able to try new brands and wear those they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access. Clothing from brands including Whistles, Selected Homme, Selected Femme, Levi’s, Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein Jeans, Jack & Jones, Farah, Original Penguin and vintage Ralph Lauren will be available to rent from launch. Other brands, vintage and independent fashion labels will be announced when The Devout launches in June. The waitlist is open now and includes £10 off the first month’s box on launch.
Once the clothes can no longer be rented, they’ll be put in the outlet for sale. Any unsold items will be passed on to The Devout’s charity partner, Shelter. The Devout is proud to support Shelter, which exists to defend everyone’s right to a safe and secure home through its frontline services and campaigning work. The Devout is working with the housing and homelessness charity by donating ex-rental fashion to Shelter’s charity shops, helping to raise vital funds in the fight against homelessness.
Prior to COVID-19, research had shown that 350,000 tonnes of clothes, with an estimated value of £140 million*, went to landfill every year in the UK. As the fashion industry suffers from a major downturn in sales, over-production and heavily discounted prices are further fuelling fashion waste, and the amount of clothing ending up in the bin or destroyed is expected to rocket. However recent research** from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) has found that not only is COVID-19 forcing changes in the way we shop, but that there’s a strong appetite for change in the fashion industry – 50% of respondents think that industry should do whatever it takes to become more environmentally sustainable. The biggest drivers of sustainability are Generation Z, who are planning to buy fewer items of clothing after the lockdown has ended, and their behaviour could well drive that of other groups, the research suggests.
As the UK faces a crisis of excess fashion stock, The Devout is calling on fashion brands and retailers to partner with them to help reduce the amount of unsold stock ending up in landfill.
Steve Bryant, founder of The Devout, said: “Fashion will never and should never be the same again. There is a real opportunity to do fashion differently and for the better – moving away from an over-reliance on fast fashion towards a subscription-based rental model, where pieces are worn and returned.
“Up until now, fashion rental has only really been focused on women and renting one-off, occasion-wear pieces. Lockdown has accelerated the desire to dress sustainably and responsibly, while also ensuring we don’t lose the feelgood factor or the self-confidence, personally or professionally, that a new outfit can bring. This is also the first time that men have been specially catered for and we’re excited to be able to bring them as much choice and flexibility as the female market.
“Renting gives us the joyous hit of new clothes, but without acquiring more and more in your wardrobe that you will either never wear again or wear once and throwaway. There will always be the demand for the latest and different looks, and renting provides that in a much more sustainable way. People’s buying habits and attitudes to fashion are changing and right now, we want to wear more comfortable casual clothing, something that The Devout deliver, alongside the ultimate party dress or tux.”
Every box is delivered and collected for free in sustainable packaging, and will include up to £500 worth of products every month. When it’s time to repeat, pick five new items or choose to keep some pieces for longer. There is also the option to buy the pieces you love. Washing, ironing, quality checking and insurance against light damage are all included in the monthly fee, and no contract means you can pause or stop the service easily. The Devout’s eco-friendly ethos includes the use of compostable boxes, reusable and recyclable bags (for smaller items) and a sustainable and eco-friendly solvent-free cleaning solution.
The Devout launches on 18th June. To sign up to the waiting list – and receive £10 off your first box on launch – visit www.thedevout.com.