Would you share your wardrobe?
Rentez-Vous, a new clothes-sharing initiative that straddles Paris and London, is one of many new schemes that provide temporary access to other people's clothes. Regulated peer-to-peer garment sharing is the latest development in a sharing economy. Fiona Disegni, founder of Rentez-Vous, argues that sharers are more able than traditional consumers to keep up with the ever-changing fashion cycle. Fashion is fickle, and there is no fashion value in long-term ownership of a garment. 
The past few decades have seen a decline in shared property, and a move towards privatisation, even within the home. Where families once shared televisions, cars or even beds, these possessions have now become the properties of individuals. Meanwhile, our living spaces have been shrinking, leaving less space for these privately owned possessions. Few of us have wardrobe space for all of the clothes that we would like to own.
Our ambition to own new clothes often outstrips our capacity to afford and store them. One increasingly popular solution to this problem is sharing. Shared-ownership schemes and profit-making ventures are being developed to provide opportunities for clothing collections that extend beyond the limits of a personal wardrobe. "Friendrobes" offer a kind of communal wardrobe, established through the combined purchasing power of friendship groups. These shared collections are ideal for aspiring fashionistas who may not otherwise have the resources to achieve their clothing ambitions.
By classifying an object as "ours" rather than "mine", we are not just agreeing to share the object itself, but also any associated costs and benefits. The rapidly spreading phenomenon of "friendrobes" demonstrates that consumers are beginning to purchase clothes in partnerships and collectives. Friends who engage in collaborative consumption split the cost - as well as the financial output that may otherwise be required to build their desired clothing collection - while doubling the size of their wardrobes. Financially, this arrangement seems ideal, but emotionally it might be difficult. It requires the wearer to relinquish his or her role as sole-owner of a garment, and thereby forego the pride, status and attachment associated with ownership.
For many of us, the idea of sharing clothes that we have purchased for ourselves seems counter-intuitive. Ownership often equates to "possessiveness and attachment", making an object feel like "a part of our extended self", and these emotions tend to discourage sharing. Ownership also offers exclusivity, allowing total control over the use of an object. That control would be compromised if we were to offer someone else the right to our possessions. 
Some sectors of the fashion industry are driven by the desire for exclusivity. We purchase branded fashions rather than mass-market alternatives partly because of the guarantee that these garments are more exclusive. Exclusivity is compromised by sharing. It therefore seems unlikely that true devotees of fashion would be wiling to make that compromise through shared ownership.
However, the status associated with being "in fashion" does not only stem from exclusivity. There is also cultural capital to be gained from demonstrations of perceived good taste. Taste can be demonstrated through the wearing of clothes, regardless of ownership. It is this desire to engage with collective taste that drives ventures such as Rentez-Vous.
Disegni argues that sharing, more so than ownership, allows people to engage with the values of the fashion system, as it involves regular active engagement with a fashion community. It offers opportunities to learn about fashion from peers and designers, and hence to enhance one's own fashion kudos.
Some of us are more inclined towards sharing than others. Among children and teenagers, sharing is a normative behavior, partly because parents and teachers stress sharing as a social responsibility. Lita Furby proposes that this stems from dependency. Children, who are dependent on their parents, use sharing as an opportunity to become a provider themselves, and to assert a kind of control. "Since their parents are the source of all their possessions and ultimately control their use," children seek opportunities to demonstrate control over their possessions as a means of "establishing independence and a distinctive identity". 
For adults, the decision to share is carefully calculated, as we weigh up the benefits of sharing with the consequences of not sharing. Central to this decision is the identity of the person with whom we might share. We are far more likely to lend our clothes to people who we feel have good taste, and will therefore use our garments wisely.
If we share with peers who are themselves fashion-conscious, sharing offers opportunities for social engagement. It is not just about access to more clothes, but also about the conversations and experiences that are shared at the same time. We don't just share clothes, but also knowledge, expertise and taste.