In the film 27 Dresses, after serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, Jane’s Mr. Right was still nowhere to be seen, leaving 27 dresses quietly sitting in her wardrobe. If it happens in reality where one pays such rent, how many girls out there would have the luxury to let those never-to-be-worn dresses occupy their entire wardrobes?
2 years ago, the idea of wardrobe-sharing popped up in Joey and Elaine’s minds, giving birth to the launch of Wardrobista online. This year, the store has made its physical debut in Lee Gardens, providing affordable clothing rental services of various major European and American fashion brands. It mainly offers clothes which you would wear at special formal occasions, such as graduation dinners, company annual banquets and weddings – resolving urban dwellers’ storage problems as well as extending the lifecycle of those rarely-worn fashion items by upholding the principle of waste reduction.
Elaine once worked in the procurement industry, so she understands the amount of waste produced by the fashion sector well. ‘In the course of manufacturing a fashion item, a total of 10 samples might be made during the process; however, 9 of them will eventually be thrown away. On the other hand, to minimize the supply chain costs, suppliers would set a minimum ordering quantity. For instance, if only 500 pieces of a certain item are needed, for the sake of cost-effectiveness, 1000 pieces would eventually be produced, which inevitably produces waste. As for some international high-end fashion brands, they might simply dispose of their out-of-season inventory items for brand-image protection,’ she sighed. This may just be the real ‘fashion disaster’.
Apart from renting the store’s items, Wardrobista also allows their customers to do a kind of consignment, and put their dresses there for other customers to rent. It would then split profits with them. Nevertheless, to ensure the products’ quality, it currently only accepts branded clothes which could pass its quality checks. Although the practice of wardrobe-sharing can successfully recycle resources and lessen the burdens imposed on the environment, ultimately, every piece of clothing would also reach the end of its lifecycle. Therefore, Joey also hopes they can make good use of the fabrics of those old clothes and #upcycle them, granting old clothes new lives. ‘We are also joining hands with some photographers and charities to lend clothing items to the less privileged in our society, letting them try on luxurious clothes and take photos as mementos,’ Joey continued.
While Japanese writer Hideko Yamashita has proposed the idea of ‘danshari’ – encouraging people to declutter, the practice of wardrobe-sharing, on the other hand, does not completely veto people’s material desires, yet significantly changes their extravagant lifestyle, in turn giving our planet some more love.
Wardrobista: 2/F, 19 Yun Ping Rd, Causeway Bay