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Fast Fashion Favorite H&M to Dip a Toe into Rentals

Rent the Runway launched a revolution in the retail industry, inspiring consumers to give up cheap, disposable fashion and a bevy of brands to jump on the rental service bandwagon. Now, fast fashion retailer H&M is trying its hand with a new program of its own.

Launching at the company’s Sergels Torg store in Stockholm, H&M’s forthcoming rental service will feature select styles from its Conscious Exclusive collections, which debuted in 2012. Since its inception, the line’s ethos has centered around eco-friendly materials and constructions that highlight H&M’s sustainability work.

Shoppers will have the option of renting select party dresses and skirts from all iterations of the Conscious Exclusive collections, including the newly released Fall 2019 line. The program will operate on an appointment basis, and will open only to members of the H&M customer loyalty program. Members can schedule their fit sessions at the store’s rental space and work with in-house stylists to select the pieces they would like to rent. They can take home up to three garments for a week, for the the cost of around 350 Swedish kroner per piece (about $38).

“We love offering our fans something extra and we also want to encourage our customers to look on fashion in a circular way as we aim to lead the change towards a circular fashion industry,” the company said in a statement.

Further encouraging customers to engage in circular practices, the store also plans to offer repair services for shoppers who would like to have their favorite pieces mended or upgraded. The newly furbished Sergels Torg store will open at the end of the month, and will feature a beauty bar and a cafe.

“We have looked at clothing rental for quite some time and are so happy to for the first time soon offer fashion fans the possibility to rent some stunning pieces from our Conscious Exclusive collections,” said Pascal Brun, H&M’s head of sustainability. “We look forward to evaluating this as we are dedicated to change the way fashion is made and consumed today,” he added.

H&M is not the first fast fashion behemoth to explore the rental business model as a means of reaching an increasingly conscious consumer base. The category’s fall from grace is happening quickly, and even industry stalwarts must adapt to changing attitudes. ThredUp’s 2019 Resale Report revealed that different business models, like resale, subscription and rental services, stand to make up “the closet of the future.”

The concept is catching on.

American Eagle Outfitters debuted its Style Drop service in February, allowing members to pay a monthly fee of $49.95 for three items, which they can exchange with unlimited frequency. In May, Urban Outfitters launched its rental subscription, Nuuly, which costs subscribers $88 per month for six items. Bloomingdale’s, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic all started their own rental services this year, too.

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