Millennials are trending again, and this time it’s for the way they are shopping for clothes. “NOwning” is a new trend among the Millennial generation that is characterized as not owning a good firsthand, but rather purchasing used goods or renting.
Why Millennials? When compared to the previous generations, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, the Millennials have had to battle the most recent Great Recession as well as battling immense amounts of student loan debt, even years after graduating college, leaving them little money to spend. This has caused them to cut back their spending on many items, clothing being one of them.
NOwning allows for people to use goods without having the strings attached of owning them. It has allowed for businesses to provide renting and sharing services. Transportation is a big area for growth with services such as Zipcar, which is identified as a car sharing service, and Uber, the rapidly growing taxi service. This is also where thrift stores and rental services such as Rent the Runway come into play.
At a thrift store, you can get secondhand goods that are just as good as firsthand goods purchased at stores for a much better deal. Nowadays, thrift stores offer anything from Polo Ralph Lauren to J.Crew. Plus, thrift stores are perfect for finding that one unique piece that all your friends will be asking about.
Services like Rent the Runway give customers an option to rent couture garments from high end designers to wear for special events (just think of it like buying a garment from a store and keeping the tag on with the intention to return it the next day).
This system gives Millennials the flexibility to swap and resell, stretching the value of their clothing. Not only is it efficient, it’s also much more environmentally friendly than purchasing new clothing.
It reduces clothing waste as clothing is now being worn by more than just one person; clothing is changing hands between two, three and for different people. When one is tired of their clothing, they can swap, sell or donate it and get something new to refresh their wardrobe.
Fast fashion is the most in trouble with this more environmentally friendly idea; people would much rather buy the $15 J.Crew sweater at the thrift store rather than the brand new $15 rayon top at Forever 21. Why? For the same amount, you’re getting a better quality garment than you would at a fast fashion store.
Additionally, fast fashion retail is not the greatest for the environment. The more garment production, especially with synthetic materials, the more toxic chemicals are being spilled in areas surrounding the factories. With the NOwning model, less clothing will need to be produced, as more of it is being reused.
This model is already taking effect in clothing stores such as Patagonia, who has offered free repairs on their goods since the 1970s. More recently, they have added a trade-in program where customers can trade in used clothing in good condition and Patagonia will sell it in their stores for half the original price. This phenomenon is known as “Worn Wear.”
It is speculated that in the future no one will really own clothing anymore. With thrifting, swapping and reselling, the possibilities to expand your wardrobe are endless.
5 places you can NOwn like a pro:
1. Rent the Runway – An e-tailer that provides one-of-a-kind designer couture garments to rent for special occasions.
2. Poshmark – Sell your used goods and buy other resold good from brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tory Burch.
3. Kidizen – A new startup that exclusively deals with the swapping of children’s clothing.
4. thredUP – The largest online thrift and consignment store that allows you to resell your clothing.
5. Tradesy – Send them the garment and they’ll take care of crafting the listing to get it sold. Whatever doesn’t sell will be donated to Goodwill.