Renting is the new #wardrobing
According to a survey one in six women admit to purchasing an item of clothing from a store, wearing it, and then returning it to the shop for a full refund. An increasing number of women are turning to this new craze, labelled “Wardrobing”, for their fashion fixes.
Anita Naik, consumer editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, who conducted the research, said: ‘Our research reveals that over a quarter of women who admit to ‘wardrobing’ feel guilty about it, but the pressure to look good on special occasions makes it feel like the only option for some to look good on a budget.’
So what about renting? Designer dress hire service Girl Meets Dress allows you to rent designer pieces with 95% off the retail price. “Rental is a way for consumers to extract all the value with none of the headaches,” says Anna Bance, co-founder of Girl Meets Dress, “women can now easily wear more relevant, trend led, time-sensitive fashions, while continuing to invest and buy only in those classic pieces which will stand the test of time.” Wardrobing is a product of our ‘fast-fashion culture’, where trends are popular for a short time then become outdated and therefore worthless.
The proliferation of social media, including Facebook has a lot to do with an increasing social pressure which has heightened the growing desire for people to make a statement with their fashion and for a women’s inherent desire not to wear the same dress twice. As Daisy Buchanan mentions in a recent article for the Guardian, “Everywhere we turn, we’re being told to look different, to look better, to have the right outfit for every mood and occasion. We’re judged by our peers and our families, and now on Facebook and Instagram. People you haven’t seen since school can berate you for recycling a bridesmaid’s dress and wearing it to a christening.”
The survey also reveals that those who earn a living in the entertainment industry are the most prolific “Wardrobers” with over a third, 39 per cent, admitting to it. “Celebrities have always been borrowing dresses for special events,” says co-founder Anna, “and now that everyone is a mini-celebrity in their own world, all women can have access to this luxury.”
Anna admits wardrobing once before, which was one of the contributing reasons for founding Girl Meets Dress. Before the business was set up there was no other way to only wear an item of clothing once without then committing the act of wardrobing. Now you are able to wear a different dress for every occasion without the heart-stopping moments at the returns till. Renting not only decreases the alarming amount of clothing waste but helps to combat the alarming levels of debt. Girl Meets Dress takes away the risk-factor of Wardrobing, any snags or spillages which could potentially spoil a well laid refund plan are taken care of as the service is in charge of all the dry cleaning.
Although “Wardrobing” may be a way for women to look glamourous on a night out, in America this is called “Return Fraud”, and losing the US retail industry around $9.6 to $14.8 billion per year. Stores like ASOS have already taken steps to prevent this by marking some clothes with red tags to determine if the item has been worn or not. Other high street retailers have even required staff working in stores to “sniff” clothing that has been returned to make sure the item has not been worn.
As Lucy Osborne writes for the Daily Mail “If we could try more and buy less, we’d end up with so many items we truly loved that it would curb our desire for a pointless purchase just because it’s new.”