British retailer Marks and Spencer has launched its first clothing rental trail in partnership with the clothing rental website, Hirestreet.
The announcement follows the retailer’s latest Founders Factory Joint Venture investment in the Zoa Group, Hirestreet’s operator. It will see Marks and Spencer’s rental offering launch ahead of the Christmas season, with the first edit to include 40 womenswear pieces from its Autograph range and the M&S x Ghost collaboration.
Pieces will be available to rent from 13 pounds for four days through Hirestreet’s website.
“Clothing rental is a growing market and working with Hirestreet through our Founders Factory joint venture gives us a huge opportunity to learn from the leading start-up in this space, operate in an agile way and better understand what our customers want from rental services,” said Marks and Spencer’s chief operating officer, Katie Bickerstaffe, in a release.
She continued: “As we grow Marks and Spencer clothing, we want to be more relevant more often and we know customers are increasingly interested in the circular fashion economy. Our partnership with Hirestreet means we are putting Marks and Spencer clothing in front of new customers.”
Sustainability factors and growing markets
The Marks and Spencer Founders Factory Joint Venture, launched in 2018, aims to accelerate emerging businesses and provide the retailer with insights into the industry. The decision to drive a rental offering stems from the predicted growth of the rental market, with Marks and Spencer stating that this new partnership will allow it to test and trial within this sector.
Zoa’s CEO and founder, Isabella West, said: “At Zeo, we’re on a mission to transform the future of fashion. Marks and Spencer is one of the largest clothing retailers in the UK with a reputation for quality and well-made clothes - their move into rental is a hugely positive step forwards for the fashion industry.
“True sustainability does not exist without accessibility. Rental fashion is more than just providing temporary access to designer items, it’s about giving consumers alternatives to traditional consumption and making the best use of the resources we have.”
Furthermore, Marks and Spencer noted the growing customer interest in sustainability, with the rental market being a key player in sustainable practices. The new trial complements its Plan A, a part of the retailer’s sustainability programme, which states that it looks to become a fully net-zero business by 2040. A central pillar to this objective is the focus on building a circular economy, with the new Zoa partnership reflecting this goal.