Fashion and sustainability – we have come to know the two as the antithesis of each other. Again and again, images of landfills full to bursting with heaps of clothes are branded across newspapers, bearing equally depressing headlines and the crushing sentiment that FASHION MUST END TO SAVE OUR WORLD. But is this really the case?
The team at POOL would reply “NO!”
Founder and CEO Rune Orloff, having worked in sustainability for many years – particularly commercially to assess and propose solutions to the environmental impact of companies – realised that no fashion brand is truly sustainable, as a result of consistent over-production and the linear system from creation to land-fill. However, Rune refused to accept that this meant an end to expression through fashion: a key aspect of youth culture.
Enter stage ‘POOL’. The unique and sustainable Berlin fashion rental platform redefines consumption, and is born of the contemplation: “What if we could experience fashion without having to actually own anything?”
“What if we could experience fashion without having to actually own anything?”
POOL is a post-ownership, circular platform, meaning users subscribe to its curated library of clothes rather than owning them. Think Spotify, but for your wardrobe, with sustainability built into its DNA. The POOL team of Rune, Milena and Kristian work with the brands they love, responsibly sourcing pieces from post-season and dead stock, cancelled orders, press samples, and showrooms.
Think Spotify, but for your wardrobe, with sustainability built into its DNA
Users choose clothes to rent depending on their monthly subscription, and the pieces are delivered in a reusable garment bag by semi-electric cargo bike. When they’ve finished with them, the clothes are picked up, cleaned and serviced so that they are ready for another POOL member. There is no time limit for keeping clothes and it is possible to swap as often as you like, as well as to pause or upgrade memberships whenever necessary.
Swap as often as you like
The idea is Circular Fashion. Clothes are borrowed, worn, cleaned, borrowed again, worn again and cleaned again, until they need to be repaired. They are then repaired, and this whole process is repeated until they are beyond repair, at which point they are eventually recycled, perhaps even into a new piece. It is a fibre-to-fibre concept – ‘fibres’ are tagged when they arrive and can then be tracked throughout their whole lifetime, never ending up in a landfill.
According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, there is a 30% decrease in the carbon emission value of a garment when it’s shared between two wearers, so what happens when it’s shared between hundreds of wearers, and then safely recycled when it comes to the end of its life?
Having launched in Summer 2020, POOL has on-boarded 15 beta-members based in Berlin in order to identify potential issues and make relevant improvements. After this, the service will be opened up to those signed up to the waiting list.
Interested? Join the waiting list now.
For now, POOL is only based in Berlin, the city at the forefront of the green tech movement, due to the fact that – for sustainability purposes – it can only exist in a local and closed community. This locality is evident in marketing campaigns as local freelance artists and photographers produce their own projects in which they advertise the POOL brand.
Future expansions to other major cities such as London, Paris and Madrid are in the works.
1 entry piece (Intro) / 9€ per month (Retail price: 0-50)
1 piece (Small) / 29€ per month (Retail price: 50-300)
2 pieces (Medium) / 49€ per month (Retail price: 50-300)
5 pieces (Large) / 99€ per month (Retail price: 50-400+)
Thanks to CEO Rune Orloff for his time being interviewed!