LOANHOOD was co-founded by Jade McSorely, Jen Charon and Lucy Hall and, like our founder Natalie Smith, they decided to turn their backs on their traditional fashion careers to change the way fashion is done. Natalie talks to Lucy Hall about LOANHOOD’s digital fashion rental platform and the role she sees rental playing in the future.
we wanted to find a way to allow people to experience the joy and self-expression that fashion gives, minus the guilt.
How did you come about the idea of LOANHOOD?
The seed for LOANHOOD was planted by my co-founder Jade who was studying a 'Fashion Futures' course at London College of Fashion. During her time there, she realised that we were never going to stop people from buying clothes, despite the environmental impact the fashion industry has on the planted. By founding LOANHOOD we wanted to find a way to allow people to experience the joy and self-expression that fashion gives, minus the guilt. It's important that we give our community a platform to play their part in shaping a more sustainable fashion future and rental allows them to do this.
How has LOANHOOD been received?
Amazingly well, we are really excited about what the future holds and are proud of our community who have been incredibly supportive and are growing day by day!
Do you think rental is the future of fashion?
Absolutely, rental is an integral part of the circular economy. It gives space to other sectors to really work on developing their technologies and techniques to slow climate change and the impact of the fashion market. It is said fashion accounts for 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions and, if nothing changes by 2050, the fashion industry will account for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. We need to act now. Being a start-up we are much more agile than big fashion businesses which means that we can implement problem solving solutions quickly, but it needs to be a joint effort.
We love your LOANHOOD Rental Studio concept, do you see more permanent rental ‘shops’ becoming a reality in the future?
We love them too and it is something we are rolling out across the UK. It’s great to engage locally with our community through swap shows and other events. A permanent shop isn't something on our horizon, but never say never! We are very much about the sharing economy so pop ups align with our ethos.
Do you think technology is essential for the future of fashion?
Without tech we couldn't have the impact we need to really change the face of fashion, so yes I think it is essential. We are living in the age of the digital native so URL is what we know and how we operate. However, I am interested in seeing how the high street develops alongside tech - or perhaps in spite of tech. Tech can get a bad reputatoin but we aim to use it for good.
What has been a highlight of the LOANHOOD journey so far?
When we hear feedback from our Loaners such as "LOANHOOD is changing the fashion rental game" it really spurs us on. Giving emerging designers the chance to share their designs and make a name for themselves, is really rewarding too.
Do you have any exciting plans/projects for 2023?
We will be running our crowdfund this year which is incredibly exciting. We are a community driven business so it makes sense to give a piece of our business over to our Loaners. Off the back of that we plan to expand nationwide and already have pop ups lined up across England and Scotland. As well as this, we have new features on the app and some exciting partnerships in the pipeline.
What’s keeping you hopeful for the future?
Our community and the impact that they can have keeps us all hopeful. Lifting up and empowering communities to create their own sustainable fashion future is why we are in this. You are only as strong as your community and we're lucky to have them!