For fashion lovers, renting instead of buying new can be fun, convenient and affordable – Naomi Ross

Naomi Ross is the founding director of green-tech circular economy start-up Sioda – Scotland’s first online clothes hire service.

As a nation of overworked individuals, the last thing many of us want to be doing with our spare time is researching sustainability and ethics credentials before we buy, trawling second-hand shops on the off chance of a diamond find, or shelling out extra cash for eco-friendly brands.

So, to be able to relax on the sofa at the end of a long day and browse great value clothes from brands whose quality we already know and trust, have them delivered to and collected from our home, laundered for us – and for this to be better for the planet than cluttering our wardrobes with even more new stuff – that’s an easier step towards climate action I think most of us can get behind.

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At Sioda, Scotland’s first clothing rental service offering high end every day and occasion wear on a one off or subscription basis, that’s exactly what we’re offering: great value rental of brands like Reiss, Whistles and Hobbs in sizes 4-24 , with sustainability and ethics woven throughout the company, from detergents to energy use and banking.

As an oddly shaped woman myself, size-inclusivity and body confidence is a really important aspect of the business. And renting is a low-risk way to try those styles we’d otherwise shy away from, or brands we’re not familiar with. As well as well-known labels we offer stylish, sustainable brands on our platform, doing that initial screening so our customers don’t have to.

We’ve seen interest and demand for our rental service increase rapidly over the last few years, which is testament to consumers wanting more sustainable practices and a move away from the more damaging ‘fast fashion’ trends. We are proud to have been commended for our efforts – last year Sioda bagged a sustainability award from the prestigious VIBES awards, and I was included in ScottishPower’s Green Power list for the part I’m playing.

As a Principal Partner of COP26, which took place in Glasgow last November, ScottishPower created the Green Power list to recognize inspiring green champions from across the UK who are going above and beyond in the fight against climate change. It was great to be included in that amazing group of people.

Obviously, no company or individual is perfect, including Sioda – for example, we need to improve our transport and packaging impacts, which we’re working on. Part of our effort includes campaigning to make industry-wide supply chains greener, so others can feel the benefit too.

There’s a phrase doing the rounds: “we don’t need a small number of individuals doing sustainable living perfectly, we need everyone doing it imperfectly” – and I wholeheartedly embrace this. We’re all at different places in our lives and those further along the journey need to help make it easier for everyone else, rather than judging people who haven’t caught up yet.

That’s the surest route to a just green transition – and for fashion lovers, renting instead of buying new is a fun, convenient and affordable place to start.

Naomi Ross is the founding director of green-tech circular economy start-up Sioda – Scotland’s first online clothes hire service. Naomi is also an active participant in environmental progress, contributing to conferences and attending local climate demonstrations

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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