While it’s a relatively new concept in the UK, renting clothes has long been popular in the USA – sites like Rent The Runway have offered monthly rental subscriptions to designer-fiends since 2009, cutting out the need to spend thousands on buying new pieces to be worn just once. With the demand growing quickly, the UK rental market is catching up. Here’s everything you need to know about getting it right.
The Sites To Know
Luxury rental platform HURR is the first service we try – described by Co-founder Victoria Prew as ‘The Air BnB of Fashion’, the site has a 3,000-strong waiting list of wannabe renters and with brands like Zimmermann, Rixo and Rotate Birger Christensen available to loan, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Instead of owning the pieces themselves, HURR has a growing list of stylish women offering up their amazing wardrobes for rent, with the site acting as a host-cum-concierge service that takes a percentage of the rental fee. Another site making waves is The Endless Wardrobe – Co-founder Rosie explains they own the stock themselves instead of renting pieces from individuals: ‘We have made it our aim to cultivate relationships with the brands available on site, which allows us to stock multiple sizes from brands including De La Vali and Alexa Chung.’
How It Works
Once you find what you’re looking for, you simply select the dates you’d like to rent the item for (typically it’s a set price for a week) and request to book – the lender usually approves the rental within minutes. An additional £15 will covers postage, dry cleaning, a service fee and damage protection, and the item should arrive the next day. Each site is slightly different; The Endless Wardrobe offers a five-day rental period, but comes with a pre-paid postage label, so it’s easy to return the pieces fuss-free. They’re all a bit like Uber – fuss-free, user-friendly, and without hidden costs.
What We Found
During our first look at Hurr, we spot a halterneck Realisation Par dress that’s been all over Instagram, which retails at £180 (not including customs charge from the USA), and is available to rent at £45 for 7 days. On The Endless Wardrobe, we find a De La Vali gown for a wedding for £45 (RRP £495) and a casual Free People blouse for £15 (RRP £88) – and that’s just what we ended up choosing. Both sites have a wealth of designer names, from high end brands like Bottega, Chloe, Dior and Gucci, down to contemporary names including Anine Bing, Faithfull The Brand and Maje.
Feeling guilty about your Zara habit? Renting is kinder on the environment because you’re not just adding to the fast fashion cycle, plus it’s budget-friendly - perfect for those special occasions when you need something to wear for just the one day. There’s a huge variety of brands on offer, it introduces you to brands and there’s no washing involved. And although the usual rental period is seven days, you do have the choice to pay a higher fee and opt for a longer rental period if necessary.
While it’s a game changing concept, it’s worth noting the downsides too: Taking care is extra important. If you damage something beyond repair, you’ll be expected to cover the full price of the item (and sometimes more), so steer clear of the red wine. You’ll also probably fall in love with the rented dress and feel a little sad saying goodbye. Lastly, it’s worth noting only one size is available per garment, so you can spend a lot of time browsing online. But if it’s a special occasion, a holiday or you simply have some extra time on your hands, we think it’s worth it…
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How does it work? Rentals are based on a monthly subscription instead of individual pieces, starting at £69 per month for 2 items, and up to £159 for 5 items. Shipping, dry cleaning and minor mending are included in the price and you can pause/cancel at any time. Brands available to rent include Alexa Chung, By Malena Birger, Hayley Menzies and Mother of Pearl.
How does it work? Another peer-to-peer platform, users are encouraged to lend as well as rent creating a circular renting loop. You can meet up in person to exchange the rented item, and can borrow for a minimum of three days. Brands available to rent include Balmain and Innika Choo, as well as other smaller brands to discover.
My Wardrobe HQ
How does it work? A peer-to-peer platform that hosts the wardrobes of well-known names like Poppy Delevingne, model Arizona Muse and influencer Roxie Nafousi. As a result, an impressive list of luxury brands is available including Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Valentino. Plus, deliveries and collections are made via My Wardrobe HQ’s courier service, so you can receive rented items in as little as 2 hours (within London).