LibraryOKC brings sustainable fashion rental to Paseo
Two young metro business owners are fighting against the quiet impact of fast fashion by creating a clothing rental business in Oklahoma City.
Located in Oklahoma City’s Paseo District, LibraryOKC hosts a large closet full of clothing for all occasions that users pay a monthly fee to access.
Co-owners Jessi Chapman and Ãnna Frost collaborated to open a business with the focus on combining the ideas of fashion and sustainability in their community. After being inspired by a similar business model in Amsterdam, LibraryOKC was opened in December 2018.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to global carbon emissions, with the UN Environment Programme attributing 2 to 8 percent of total emissions to the industry alone.
“It’s our way to participate in fashion without adding a larger carbon footprint,” Chapman said. “The number just keeps growing of how much waste comes from the clothing industry. So, we wanted to help with that in one small way.”
A majority of discarded clothing finds its home in landfills, according to a study published in the Pulse Report, a partnership between the Global Fashion Agenda and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. To combat this issue, LibraryOKC buys unwanted clothing to add to its closet.
“The goal is just to extend the life of each article of clothing just a little bit longer,” Chapman said.
While Chapman and Frost wanted to tackle the environmental impacts of the fashion industry, they also wanted to give young women the opportunity to wear the clothing they want and feel good about their choices.
“From the beginning, we wanted to be a safe place in Oklahoma City for people to find ways to express themselves that make them feel the most confident and strong,” Frost said.
Frost said that the clothing sizes range from XS to 3XL and range in style so that anybody who shops there can find something for themselves.
Chapman said the business has fostered a community among the clientele, with the average range of customers being 25-30 years old. However, they said the youngest customer is 13 years old and the oldest is 60 years old.
“We have so many friendships that get started from people meeting in the store or outside in line when we’re doing our stuff the bag sales,” Chapman said. “You definitely get more than just clothes when you sign up for a Library membership.”
Chapman and Frost hope to expand their business to other locations in the future.
“There’s a large community of people that really like being more sustainable and like the stories that clothes have to tell,” Chapman said. “A lot of people prefer more pre-owned items and I think that culture is growing.”
There are two subscriptions offered. The Netflix starts at $16 a month and allows one item to be checked out at a time and The Mini starts at $54 a month and allows four items to be checked out at a time. Both options include unlimited swaps.
“We think this is the future of fashion,” Frost said. “We’d like to see this happening more, and less waste in the world.