The textile industry is large polluter with high carbon emissions, is water intensive and requires the use of chemicals. The goal of this project is to change how we consume clothes, from buying and owning individual garments to accessing an almost endless wardrobe through rent. The large volumes - and also the great environmental benefits - lie in the clothes we wear every day. The research project will look more closely at what is required of technology, logistics and facilitation to succeed on a large scale.
What is unique about our rental model is that we rent out fashion overstock. These are items that initially never would have reached the consumer, and makes up as much as 30 % of all produced garments. This model which utilises already produced outfits, is more complex, but opens up great opportunities as well as great environmental benefits.
The results from the projects research will be utilized by FJONG to develop technology enabling sustainable clothing rental in multiple markets, at a scale that has not previously been possible.
The project is divided into three, with different research partners having the required expertise to solve each of these challenges:
1. Behavioral psychology: In collaboration with BI and the Center for Green Growth with Per Espen Stoknes, we will look at why people act as they do today and what it takes for consumers to change habits from buying new, to renting or streaming " clothes. Here we survey the attitude towards clothing rental in two different markets, Norway and Germany. Furthermore, we investigate retailers, brands and agencies attitude towards renting out their overstock.
2. Sustainability: In collaboration with NMBU, we will prepare more precise measurements for climate and environmental impacts throughout our value chain. This information will be used to further reduce our own climate footprint and show both our customers and lenders the climate effect of renting rather than owning.
3. Technology: In collaboration with the University of Agder, we will by utilizing sophisticated data analysis and machine learning, further develop usability and service offerings. We will explore and develop a platform designed specifically for user-to-user rental. The goal is to provide our costumers with the best recommendations possible, and make clothing rental an easy option for the consumers.
We are sure that the results from this research project will be applicable to many different businesses, and many will be able to benefit of the knowledge that comes from the various projects. There is an urgent need to change today's consumption. We must find solid, profitable business models in the circular economy.
Imagine having access to a never-ending shared wardrobe. And also making money off the clothes you own but only seldom wear.
The textile industry is among the most polluting and resource demanding industries in the world, emitting more greenhouse gases than shipping and air traffic combined. Since the year 2000, global clothing production has doubled, but utilization has dropped. Every third garment is never used.
FJONG aims to revolutionize the way we consume clothes, by making rental more attractive than buying new. We develop a unique rental platform, a convenient and environmentally friendly AirBnB for clothes. Our customers are able to both rent outfits and lend out their own, for a cut of the rental price. 60.000 people have already shown interest in our service and a large share of our inventory is sourced through private lenders.
We are now ready to expand, both in Norway and internationally. However, further research is required to overcome some key challenges:
- Behavioral change challenge: How do we change consumer habits? Which factors make people shift from buying to renting, or from throwing away to lending out? What is important for retailers to lend out?
- Sustainability challenge: How can we optimize our business model from an environmental point of view, while still being scalable and financially viable? How can we minimize footprints from our own value chain, while at the same maximize our impact for sustainable clothing consumption?
- Technical challenge: Can artificial intelligence and machine learning help create a superior user experience that makes renting more attractive than buying? How can we build a sharing platform that meets the requirements of the value propositions designed and the complex logistics of a peer-to-peer sharing platform?
We are proud to partner with three leading universities, BI, NMBU and UIA to solve these challenges.