Renting instead of buying
Clothing leads to a high direct and indirect consumption of resources due to the large quantities that are consumed. At the same time, the potential for savings is also very high, as on average one in three garments is never worn or is worn less than once in three months. New circular business models could help to avoid such unused purchases and contribute to a much more efficient use of garments. They make clothing available on loan, thus ensuring that unworn garments quickly find a new user. However, not every circular business model automatically leads to improvements in the environmental performance, since the savings in resources can be offset by high logistics and cleaning costs.
The aim of the project Wear2Share is to analyze the ecological and economic sustainability potential using two exemplary circular business models and to clarify the question of whether these circular business models really do help to improve the environmental impact of garments. In addition, boundary conditions are identified that influence the environmental assessment of the models. In the future, new circular business models could help tap unused resource potentials not only among end consumers, but also in production. Since the information on wear and tear and damage flows together centrally, such models can help manufacturers to make garments more durable and robust. One of the aims of Wear2Share is therefore to design a digital feedback system for damaged garments, which will provide manufacturers with information about frequent defects of the garments.
New circular business models become possible with the help of digitalisation. Digital access and the convenient lending process make these business models able to compete with conventional purchasing. To find out how well these new lending models are being accepted, researchers are conducting consumption studies and experiments to determine their market potential as well as consumers’ motives for use. The data thus obtained then serve as the basis for the subsequent life cycle assessment and investigation of optimisation potentials.
The project provides insights into the sustainability of circular business models and aims to clarify which product groups lend themselves to being transferred to such circular business models. In addition to generating new insights, the project focuses on the strategic transfer of knowledge into practice in order to show companies that are committed to the circular economy which paths exist to sustainable development.
Team of researchers and companies
In the project Wear2Share, researchers at Fraunhofer ISI (Karlsruhe) work together with companies from the field in order to shed light on current circular business models operating in the market. Relenda GmbH offers various digital rental models for children’s and ladies' wear. In the project, the company therefore provides in-house expertise as well as data from its own rental platforms. In addition, the manufacturers’ perspective is incorporated through the associated participation of bubble.kid berlin kidswear, a manufacturer of durable children's clothing, as well as the expertise of Thekla Wilkening, an expert for circular business models in the textile and clothing industry.
The project results will benefit companies in the circular economy and the clothing industry, who want to use detailed feedback to further develop their products in order to make them more robust, more durable and thus more suitable for such circular business models..
Picture credits: © Relenda GmbH; pexels
Project sheet - in German (August 2019)
The project sheet provides a clear overview of the research project.
Contributions to the ReziProK Kick-off event in December 2019
Poster - in German (December 2019)
Presentation - in German (December 2019)
#Leihmodelle (in German)
Klamotten leihen statt kaufen - in German (05.05.2020)