Rental Fashion. It’s always been a bit of a conundrum for me. Not because it isn’t a brilliant way to reduce new clothes purchasing (it is), but because I’m trying to dampen my own need for constant ‘newness’, whether that’s hired or bought. Also I have always thought that if I rent something I will love it so much I’ll want to wear it seven thousand times and never give it back - which is how I generally approach clothing. ( PS this actually is possible these days- I’ll get on to that later)
The delightful IRL Hurr Rental Shopping SpaceIMAGE Hurr/Selfridges
So for me the appeal of rental isn’t a monthly subscription of rented clothes, it’s more about the the uplevelled 'occasions'. But that doesn’t have to mean simply the one wedding every three years you (I) get invited to. It can mean any slightly more special than usual occasion that might have previously led to an eleventh hour fast fashion trawl for something that never gets worn again. Luckily most fashion rental companies agree: Rental fashion Rotaro has the slogan Buy Good Basics Rent Good Fun. This people, is EXACTLY my sentiments.
So- this could be anything from a girls night out to a weekend away to your own wedding. (Because don’t get me started on the craziness of thousand of pounds spent on a dress worn for one day. I do totally love my wedding dress- But if it had crossed my mind to rent it in 2006? Yes please)
My Vintage Ceil Chapman wedding dress. I take it out once every two years and stroke it. Rental would have been way more sensible
These days you can rent a party dress and cover the cost by getting the bus home rather than a taxi- I defy anyone to argue against this logic. And if you do spill that red wine on it/fall in a gorse bush? A few pounds insurance on top and worry not. So - I’ve done the trawling so you don’t have to. Here are places that are doing rental well ( mostly without subscription), plus some curated pieces from me. I’m keeping it simple and at a glance, but if you're thinking of dipping a toe? Most loan from 4- 20 days, with much under £100, with free delivery and often returns, and cover the cleaning. PLUS lots of these sites cover owner rental, so if you have some lovely worn once pieces you could start making money from what you already own. It really is this simple. Now I just need a party invitation...
Branded ‘The Airbnb of fashion’ by Forbes, Hurr mixes peer to peer, with brand rentals of selected (uber cool) labels like Reformation and Ganni, and a physical presence in Selfridges, mixing, peer to peer, new pieces and vintage. Hurr is basically the mothership of luxury rental, powering John Lewis, Matches and Flannels rental platforms.
BEST FOR: The 'It' brands
2. JOHN LEWIS
Launched at the end of last year, John Lewis rental loans existing affordable favourites like Whistles and Somerset by Alice Temperley along with over 20 new contemporary brands like Olivia Rubin, Pink City Prints and O Pioneers.
BEST FOR: Affordable and Interesting Independents
Hirestreet works with the more affordable end of the rental market, with brands from French Conenction to Nobodys child and an exclusive M&S collection. Along with occasion outfits Hirestreet rents capsule wardrobes for holidays, and edits trend capsules. Prices start at £14
BEST FOR: Highstreet brands for pocket money prices
4. BY ROTATION
The only UK rental site to have an app, By Rotation is a fully peer to peer rental platform listing over 6,000 items and facilitating the sharing of stylish personal wardrobes from Sleeper to Rixo. You can also ask to buy if you fall in love with a piece.
BEST FOR: Peer to Peer Rental- The most sustainable of all.
Powered by Hurr, designer retailer Flannels started renting in November 2023, with stylist Leah Abbott brought in with the aim of 'Sexing Up Rental', with competitive prices from £20. Flannels will be launching a physical space in its Liverpool flagship store this year.
BEST FOR: Your favourite Gen Z pieces, from dresses to bags to accessories
Cloan offers insta friendly brands from Shrimps to Ganni (they hold a large archive collection), with some pieces also available to ‘Oan’ ( buy). It aims for a boutique experience with fashion insiders curated ‘edits’ to help with styling. There's also the option of purchasing Cloan gift cards
BEST FOR: Fashion insider curated pieces
7. MATCHES FASHION
Matches rental offering launched last November in conjunction with Hurr. Expect the same luxe cool with a cocktail party vibe from Self Portrait to The Vampires Wife to Matteau . Their Bag and Ski game is high too.
BEST FOR: Statement pieces with next day delivery
8. FOR THE CURATORS
Here for all your maternity and post natal renting needs, For the Curators stocks brands from Whistles to ethical newcomer Albaray, helpfully split into sections for each trimester. Plus they care: They plant a tree in partnership with Ecologi for every rental order.
BEST FOR: Every stage of Pregnancy
9. THE FRONT ROW
Launched in 2016 as an exclusive invitation only hire service, The Front Row has broadened it's model in 2023 with an online rental site, plus a full lifestyle service, with stylists on hand at the mayfair showroom to advise before you hire statement pieces from Chanel to Alaia . The Times call it 'The Net-a Porter of rental.'
BEST FOR: Seriously special occasions
10. GIRL MEETS DRESS
Girl Meets dress is one of the pioneers of luxury rentals launching in 2009, now with over 40,000 dresses to rent from brands like Herve Leger and Proenza Schouler. It offers same day delivery in london, advance try on at the London showroom ,and maternity and bridal loans; with an optional subscription service
BEST FOR : Event Dressing
11. MY WARDROBE HQ
Offering both rental and resale, plus a subscription option, my wardrobe has over 500 high end designers, renting at 10% of their retail value., including bags and accessories with next day delivery. Plus they’ve teamed up with Harrods with an edit to try instore, and online.
BEST FOR: High Fashion for Every Day
Ethically minded Rotaro prides itself on carbon neutral deliveries, recyclable packaging and wet rather than dry cleaning ( better) Launched in 2019 it rents quirky and cult labels to encourage experimentation with fashion, with well known and lesser known niche brands.
BEST FOR: EXPERIMENTATION WITHOUT COMMITMENT
Part of the store's Project Earth initiative, exploring new planet friendly ways to shop. Rent a selection of Selfridges current designer pieces from Alex Perry to Needle and Thread, curated by the buying team with helpful edits from date night to wedding guest. Available in store and online.
BEST FOR: Curated current season Designer stand outs
Need the bag to go with the outfit? Cocoon has a slightly different rental business model: Labeled 'a subscription service for bag lovers' the brand aims remove the need for the 'big bag purchase' we might all be tempted into- instead changing up between brands like Chanel and Balenciaga throughout the year.
BEST FOR: A rental bag for every season
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