The New Sharing Economy – 6 Initiatives That are Changing the Way We Consume Fashion


It’s official sharing is the new buying with a greater focus on sustainability and climate change, austerity measures and rising costs of raw materials. The sharing economy is currently valued at £22 billion in the UK and it looks like it will continue to grow year on year.

Recent concerns over both unethical manufacture and unsustainable practices in the fashion industry make the sharing economy even more relevant to fashion. If we are all going to buy less, choose well and make our clothes last (as advised by Dame Vivienne Westwood), then sharing is the easiest way to keep our look fresh. Sharing is nothing new but the latest sharing economy initiatives for fashion make the most of the internet and have opened up a whole new world of people to share with beyond our friends, families and local communities. Innovative websites and apps also streamline the process of sharing making it much easier and more convenient for us to fit sharing into our busy lives.

Here are just 6 of the initiatives that are changing the way that we consume fashion, but at, we believe this is only the start. We believe that sharing is a trend that is going to get more and more popular as soon as people begin to discover what good sense it makes.

Corporate Recycling – Patagonia + ebay Common Threads Partnership

Patagonia are certainly pioneers when it comes to sustainable fashion turning traditional ideas about fashion and marketing on their head with an advert advising customers ‘don’t buy this jacket’. The notion of sustainability doesn’t often seem to sit well with the fashion industry which is centred around persuading people to buy more clothes. But with the Patagonia + ebay initiative, it really does seem to make sense. The high cost of Patagonia clothing and their functional nature seems to lend itself to the sharing economy where customers buy second hand instead of new and sell their clothes after use through the the Patagonia + ebay shop.

Clothes Sharing App – Pink MothBalls

Pink Mothballs is an app for iphone which simplifies the process of borrowing and lending clothes. It allows users to connnect with friends on Facebook, list clothes that you can lend, browse friends clothes to borrow, keep track of what you have borrowed and lent and even send a friendly reminder for anything not recieved back.

Clothes for a Good Cause – A Suit for Success

A Suit for Success is an initiative set up by, it encourages people to donate unwanted suits that they no longer want in return for a £50 voucher to spend on a new suit. The suits are used to help disadvantaged young people to get into work. One of the barriers of homeless people in finding jobs is having suitable clothing to wear for an interview and A Suit for Success helps to remove this barrier.

Jeans Leasing – Mud Jeans

In some ways jeans are some of the most sustainable items of clothing. Whilst their manufacture can be damaging for the environment from the pesticides used to grow the cotton to the dyes used to colour them. But look in any vintage shop and you will usually see rails of second hand jeans confirming that they are a valuable comodity. Mud Jeans is a Dutch brand which has pioneered the idea of leasing jeans. The idea behind leasing a pair of jeans is that you get the benefit of wearing an expensive pair of sustainably made jeans without paying the full cost.

Dress Hire Websites – Wish Want Wear

Hiring dresses or outfits for a special is no new idea. People have been hiring dresses for balls and black tie occasions for years. Dress hire websites like Wish Want Wear introduce the added benefit of choice and convenience though, allowing customers to borrow the seasons latest designer dresses at a fraction of their cost new. Dresses are insured and posted out to customers, once they have finished they can simply post them back again. This is a great aspect of the sharing economy which allows people to wear clothes that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

 Skills Sharing – Sew it Forward 

Sew it Forward is an initiative started by Zoe Robinson of The Good Wardrobe. It aims to get London sewing by encouraging those this crafting skills to share those skills with others at event in London and is a slightly difference take on the sharing economy involving the sharing of skills rather than clothes. The genius behind Sew it Forward is that it not only gives attendees a new hobby or craft to enjoy but to equips them with useful skills that will help them prolong the life of their clothes and build a sustainable wardrobe on a budget.

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