Sharing is the new black
It’s a scenario we’re all familiar with: You’re going to a party. And you've got nothing to wear. Nothing. Until now, you only had two choices: 1) Go out and buy something new like you did last weekend, 2) Don’t go to the party (not really an option). But now you can click your way onto photo-sharing site Instagram using the hashtag #Sharewear and choose from dresses, suits, purses, shoes, and jewelry. If, for example, you find a dress you like, you just add a comment and you can borrow it for a week. You also have to post a photo of it and mark it with the same hashtag so that someone else can borrow it after you. Behind the hashtag are public agency The Swedish Institute, Visit Sweden, seven of Sweden’s foremost designers, and the fashion industry organizations.
Sharewear shares clothes under the slogan democreativity. This play on words is intended to reflect those factors that help the Scandinavian countries do well both creatively and financially.
“Openness, equality, and freedom provide a breeding ground for creativity and that’s why we are successful internationally in creative sectors such as fashion, design, and music,” Henrik Selin, Head of Department at The Swedish Institute tells Scandinavian Traveler. “But our consumption also leaves an ecological footprint and with Sharewear we want to inspire a new way of interacting with clothes and fashion.”
In Oslo, journalist Marte Bratberg used the hashtag to borrow a Filippa K skirt.
“I saw that in London model Caroline Winberg had posted a jacket from House of Dagmar that she lent to someone else and I thought it was a cool concept,” Bratberg tells Scandinavian Traveler. “We have too many clothes and we throw away vast amounts every year. That’s why I’m trying to use less, buy vintage and not worry about calling up a friend to borrow a dress if I’m going to a party.”
Sharing economy - a growing trend
Private individuals offering goods and services that used to be provided only by companies is called the sharing economy. It’s a strong consumer trend, a paradigm shift. While the traditional European economy grows by between zero and five per cent every year, the sharing economy is growing at a much more rapid pace. A European Commission estimate suggests that the sharing economy is growing by 25 per cent every year, which means it could double in size every four years.
“The phenomenon of the sharing economy is nothing new; we’ve always swapped and exchanged goods and services with one another,” says Tor W. Andreassen, Professor in Service Innovation at the Norwegian School of Economics. “But today there are global marketplaces where new technology and integrator companies make it easy for us to trade directly with one another. These kinds of online services help us find what we want.”
Brand are starting to lend their clothes
At Filippa K, sustainability is part of the business model. Last fall the label began lending parts of its collection from several stores under the name Lease. Customers can borrow one garment for up to four days for 20 per cent of the retail price.
“Filippa K’s vision is ‘fashion where sustainability is the guide to growth’,” says Simone Brenemark Molvidson, Communications Coordinator at Filippa K. “If we want to be an attractive and relevant fashion brand in the future, we have to consider the planet’s conditions and limitations.”
If you want to supplement your wardrobe a little more, Klädoteket in Gothenburg lets you borrow clothing just like you borrow a book.
“We lend out good-quality clothes from brands that value the skill that goes into each garment,” says Sara Habte Selassie, founder of Klädoteket. “We also want to be a meeting place where you can learn more about fashion consumption and sustainability.”
You won’t find fast fashion at Klädoteket, but you can borrow clothing from Nudie Jeans and Starry Eyes, among others.
Once you’ve finally got your hands on a suitable outfit on Instagram for tonight’s party, you do what Bratberg did: Post a picture of yourself in your new borrowed clothes and share it using the tag #sharewear.
“I used to share a house with some other girls and we were always borrowing clothes from each other. As an adult, it doesn’t work like that anymore. So it’s fantastic that we can now share clothes in this way.”
We’re shopping more
There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that the stores are in danger of going out of business as a result of sharing and renting more. At Statistics Norway, the retail sales index is on a steady upwards trend. “Overall consumption is increasing,” says Tor W. Andreassen, Professor of Service Innovation at the Norwegian School of Economics.
“The paradox is that people who buy second-hand items also want new things to complement the old. Buying used goods is a way of easing your conscience about buying something new. It’s like drinking Diet Coke so you can eat more chocolate, or driving the electric car to work and a big SUV to the cabin on the weekends.”
Why you should buy less clothing
Making clothes requires a lot of resources, contributes to large emissions of greenhouse gases, and can be hazardous to the health of those who make them.
- Approximately 40 per cent of all clothing is now made from polyester, which is a member of the plastics family. Polyester is extracted from oil (the kind you get out of the ground) and is often not biodegradable. The people who make the clothes run the risk of damaging their health.
- To make one cotton T-shirt, you need 5,000 liters of water, 134g of fertilizer, 5g of pesticides, and 0.5 liters of gasoline, and at the same time you get out 4.1kg of CO2. Cotton growers work with hazardous chemicals.
Sources: Usagain.com, Textile Exchange, Fast Fashion
Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst
Published: April 18, 2016