Quick note before you start reading; this post will mainly be focused on the Netherlands.
Last year I wrote about the concept of renting your clothes through different platforms in the blog post called “Rent Your Way To sustainability”. This week I read an article in the newspaper (NRC) about a similar concept namely “Fashion Libraries”. This concept was first introduced in the Netherlands in 2014 when the first fashion library opened in Amsterdam.
A Fashion Library is similar to a normal library: you borrow items for a certain time period and return them once you no longer want them.
It sounds identical to renting platforms right? So what is the big difference?
Well, you can visit a fashion library in “real life”. This is a huge benefit for those who like to try on clothes before they buy/borrow them.
Why do we need Fashion Libraries?
There are many reasons why the Fashion Library is an amazing concept.
On average a person owns around 173 pieces of clothing. However, roughly 50 pieces are never worn and are just catching dust in the back of our closet. Studies have found that in the last 12 months we have only worn around 29 percent of all our clothes, which is such a small amount. Still, the average person buys 46 new items in the same time period. It sounds very wasteful, right?
All these items have cost us thousands of euros, and many many resources.
Using a Fashion Library is the perfect solution to ditch the fast fashion industry and encourage a more circular fashion industry. You can still wear different clothes whenever you want, but you don’t have to buy the items (unless you really love them). There is no need to constantly buy and throw away perfectly fine items. It will save you money, and the environment
Examples of Fashion Libraries in the Netherlands
LENA the fashion library
LENA the fashion library, the first fashion library of the Netherlands, was established in 2014 by three sisters and a friend. Currently, sisters Diana and Elisa Jansen run the business. Their mission is to turn the fast fashion industry into a circular fashion industry.
LENA has a different variety of items that you can borrow. From handbags to designer items, to everyday wear, they have it all.
They have both a store and an online space where you can borrow items.
LENA works with a credit system. Hoodies are 2 credits, pants 3 credits, and a jacket is 4 credits. Each credit is 0,25 cents a day, and you can borrow the items for as long as you please. Did you fall head over heels for an item? No problem at all. LENA provides the opportunity to buy the items if you want.
The store’s adres is: Westerstraat 174h in Amsterdam. For their website please click here.
Masterpiece was founded by Lieke van Schouwenburg and Suzanne Vermet – Reijgersberg and is located in the Hague, the Netherlands. Their mission is to make designer and luxury fashion more attainable for the public and create a more sustainable fashion industry at the same time.
The fashion library offers many designer items for every occasion.
Masterpiece has 3 different subscriptions that you can choose from depending on what your interests are. They also have the possibility to rent a single item.
Like LENA you have the opportunity to visit the store or make use of their website.
The address is: Apollo 14, the Hague, or Saturnusstraat 14, the Hague.
For their website please click here.
Outfit Library LESS
Outfit Library LESS is located in Arnhem. The store describes itself as a city wardrobe and sustainable fashion hub. It promotes body positivity and inclusivity. Outfit Library LESS has a completely second-handed collection, and for only 25 euros a month you can borrow whatever you want.
The adress is: Nieuwe Plein 13, Arnhem.
They are currently working on their website, so there isn’t a collection available online.