In a world where Uber and Air BnB reign supreme, industry insiders are beginning to question whether a more public, mutually beneficial, community-based approach could work for fashion.
This is an article about collaborative consumption, and how it might one day be how we buy clothing.
In terms of fashion, we have companies like ThredUp, Rent the Runway and Borrow or Steal.
These brands help fashion conscious consumers save money by simply borrowing a designer dress for the short term before returning it for another user to enjoy. This is ideal for outfits for special occasions only to be worn once.
The concept seems to be working well, appealing to label-loving customers who can't necessarily afford to own the real thing.
The industry has recently seen a huge rise in bartering or trading, where services can be exchanged for clothing. This is seen a lot in the world of fashion blogging, where perhaps a dress may be exchanged for an Instagram post.
But it can also be done on the scale of just swapping handbags or unused beauty products with friends at clothes swap parties, an activity thats both rewarding and enjoyable, especially if cocktails are involved. Everyone leaves having got ridden of something they hate, and receiving something they love, also bringing joy to others. A win-win-win situation.
Swapping, renting and trading might never really replace buying new clothes. We are too possessive about our fashion.
The sharing economy may not work for fashion on a large, global scale. But often its the small lifestyle changes we make that drive larger progress in the industry. After all, fashion is about supply and demand, so if we demand a sharing economy, we might just get one.