Collaborative consumption is becoming increasingly popular in the fashion industry, although this consumption model is not a new concept. Indeed, many companies have implemented a sharing economy model through rental, subscription-rental and recommerce. Technological innovation, especially concerning information and communication, allows collaborative consumption to develop exponentially.
The objective of this consumption is that the consumer has access to clothes already made instead of buying new products.
Collaborative consumption will thus break the consumption codes of this industry by creating a junction between fashion and sustainability. In this sense, this new consumption model will bring solutions related to the environmental impact by allowing consumers to try new styles and trends without producing and using new raw materials.
Various alternatives are available to customers. They can either acquire ownership of the textile item via an exchange or purchase of a second-hand item, or use the product through rental or leasing platforms. Collaborative consumption therefore involves the redistribution of a used product, having been used by several people, and the transfer of ownership or monetary compensation. This activity can be done in two ways: business to consumer (B2C) or peer-to-peer (P2P), so either via an online platform or a company, or directly between consumers. The implementation of an online platform allows to reduce transaction costs and therefore to share a wider variety of products on a larger scale.

In terms of rentals, the e-commerce platform Rent the Runway, founded in 2009 by Jennifer HYMAN and Jennifer FLEISS - two former Harvard Business School students - allows consumers to rent a luxury item of clothing for a short period of time. Renting tends to reduce the textile waste that is all too present in this industry and among consumers. Most people only use half or less of their wardrobe. Therefore, renting allows the consumer to choose a garment from a varied set that they are sure to wear and that will not stay in their closet. The main advantage of renting is its affordability. Thus the consumer can afford to wear a garment that he could only have dreamed of wearing. The margin for luxury is profitable after five rentals. The value of the fashion rental market is expected to double by 2023, compared to 2017. The Rent the Runway platform also offers subscription-based rentals. The platform provides access to a range of clothing after the consumer has paid a fee.
With regard to the recommerce, Vestiaire Collective, the world leader in second-hand fashion in which Kering has become a shareholder, recovers and resells clothing. This French company, also created in 2009, has revived the image of second-hand sales. Indeed, used clothes are no longer considered as old-fashioned or waste but more as vintage. The second-hand market allows the original owner of the textile product to receive cash or vouchers and the new buyer to purchase a garment at a reduced price and of a brand that he or she might not have been able to afford. The reuse of products, in addition to extending its life cycle, reduces the carbon footprint, the production of waste as well as the consumption and pollution of water and the demand for raw materials.

Collaborative consumption allows a real variety of choices for the consumer who is not obliged to conform to the fashion of the moment but on the contrary can be proud to have a unique piece in his wardrobe, at least concerning the recommerce; or conversely, to follow a trend and to please himself by renting a designer article, inaccessible from the start.

A negative point can be criticized, though. The fact that these clothes are transported from home to home or from companies to company, creates important CO2 emissions caused by their transport.