Today marks the start of London Fashion Week: a time for trying a new look if ever there was one. But forget forking out a fortune for an outfit you’re only likely to wear once – the savviest shoppers are now renting their statement pieces instead.
The rental fashion market is already worth more than $1bn in the US, but through companies like HURR, My Wardrobe HQ and By Rotation, it’s setting up shop in the UK too. Everything from Rixo dresses to Mulberry handbags and Chanel heels are listed on these sites, ready for you to borrow for a fraction of their usual RRP.
A completely rented wardrobe might not be realistic, but for occasions like weddings, job interviews or holidays, it’s a saviour; an affordable and environmentally friendly way to beat the fast-fashon machine. After all, considering that the average Brit will buy around 20,000 items of clothing throughout their lifetime, we could all stand to own a little less.
Renting is continuing to become more and more popular, thus aligning with our increasing awareness about sustainability and fast fashion. ‘There’s a whole new generation that value ‘access’ over ‘ownership’ and have shifted towards more conscious fashion consumption,’ explains Victoria Prew, co-founder of clothing rental service HURR. ‘They’re smarter than ever about the pieces they want to own forever and the pieces they want to wear once.’
With this in mind, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to renting your own personal runway, from prices per day to the best pieces to pick. With the help of these services, 2020 is set to be your most stylish year yet.
5 of the best fashion rental services to try now
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"One dress, two nights. Rented for £28 from @hurr. When there's a strange pressure sometimes to always be wearing something new, putting on the same dress for a second evening is actually quite liberating. For night one, my beautiful @elli_eyes dinner, I kept it floaty and simple and wore them with my @nuehoops_jewellery Japenese cat charms… For night two with @noellacoursaris and @lameruk, I paired her with a vintage @ysl belt from @williamvintage and @katerinamakriyianni fan earrings to change it up a bit. The saddest part about renting is giving them back. Oh what fun we've had though."⠀ ⠀ Our fave!!! @charliepresents of @cccreativewardrobe on her rental experience. Looking divine as always!
Best for: Rixo and Ganni fans
How it works: HURR is one of the coolest ‘of the moment’ rental services for women in the know. It works as a peer-to-peer system, meaning everything is organised between renters and rentees. Stocking plenty of mid-range ‘cool girl’ brands like Rixo, Molly Goddard and Ganni, this is the ultimate fashion-forward stop. It’s also seriously clever; there’s geo-tagging, ID verification, cycle couriers for Londoners, and a partnered eco-friendly dry-cleaners. If you want to get a feel for HURR, you can even stop by their in-store wardrobe rental pop up in Selfridges’ Contemporary Studio.
Average cost: Costing is worked out per item, but is usually around 20% of the item’s retail cost. The minimal rental period is 7 days, and HURR takes a 15% commission.
Sign me up: hurrcollective.com
My Wardrobe HQ
Best for: Occasion dresses
How it works: MyWardrobe HQ is unique in that it is truly circular and allows customers to ‘try before they buy’. For example, if you rent an item and love it, you can pay the difference and keep it! Then, when you want to share it and earn some money, list it back on the platform. Some items have even been supplied by the likes of Arizona Muse and Poppy Delevingne, and you can expect to see brands such as Gucci and Vivienne Westwood, amongst many more.
Average cost: Prices range depending on the brand and item; for example, you can rent a Ganni dress for around £6 a day, but something like a Celine bag will set you back more (around £40 per day).
Sign me up: mywardrobehq.com
Best for: Bag lovers
How it works: Cocoon has a niche, and that niche is designer bags. They stock some of the coolest and most well-known bag brands, such as Shrimps, Acne, Saint Laurent and Prada. It’s another website that requires monthly membership, but that cost allows you access to a bag. For your monthly fee, you can choose a new season, pre-owned or limited-edition bag, which you can keep for as long or as little as you’d like, with a monthly swap option.
Average cost: £99 per month for a membership
Sign me up: cocoon.club
Best for: The coolest fashion girls
How it works: This is a truly community-based concept, which works on a peer-by-peer basis. By Rotation is an app, which you download to browse other individuals’ wardrobes in order to rent their clothing. Some of the coolest girls on Instagram are a part of this one, and the prices are really reasonable, too. Items can be exchanged in person or via royal mail; whatever is best suited to the buyer and seller. Expect to see brands such as Chanel, Rixo, and Dior.
Average cost: Rental prices are around 5 per cent of the item’s retail price, and the app charges 15 per cent commission. The app is free to download.
Sign me up: Download the By Rotation app.
Best for: Shopping addicts
How it works: Onloan’s system is probably the most cost-effective. It’s a subscription service, but you do not pay extra fees per item. You simply sign up to one of the monthly plans, which allows you to rent two, three, or five items per month for your subscription fee, keep them for the full month, then return them. This is an excellent option for shopaholics who still want to get their monthly fix, but in a much more sustainable way.
Average cost: Sign up to one of these options: two pieces a month for £69 monthly, with pieces worth £500 on average, three pieces a month for £99 monthly, with pieces worth £750 on average, or five pieces a month for £159 monthly, with pieces worth £1250 on average.
Sign me up: onloan.co