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In today’s Daily Mail there is an article about fashion rental, quoting Girl Meets Dress founder Anna Bance. By TOM WITHEROW BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Read the whole piece here. Or see below.

Former Topshop boss heralds ‘enormous’ trend of women renting designer outfits from retailers to save cash and cut waste

  • Former Topshop boss Jane Shepherdson is director of London Fashion Fund
  • A weekly rental price is typically a tenth of the price of a new designer outfit
  • Main focus is women in 50s and 60s looking for outfits for weddings and work
  • Miss Shepherdson started renting when invited to event at Buckingham Palace

Shopping for the perfect outfit is so last year, according to a former retail boss who says more women than ever are renting clothes for big occasions.

Companies offering expensive designer items for a fraction of the cost of buying them have sprung up to cater for those who want to save cash and cut waste.

Jane Shepherdson, a former Topshop and Whistles boss who is now a director of London Fashion Fund, which helps new firms get off the ground, said: ‘It’s an enormous trend. Rental has to be the answer, as it allows you to really enjoy fashion without wearing it once and throwing it away. It hasn’t broken through to the mainstream yet, but people are accepting it as something that’s a possibility.’

When bought new, the items range in value from a couple of hundred pounds to thousands for designer dresses by high-end brands such as Victoria Beckham, but a week’s rental is typically a tenth of the price.

Women in their 50s and 60s looking for outfits to wear at weddings, parties and work are said to form a significant proportion of the market, while others just don’t want to add to the piles of clothes cluttering up their wardrobe.

Miss Shepherdson revealed she started renting clothes when she was invited to an event at Buckingham Palace. She said: ‘I could either wear something I already had, spend £1,000 on something new or I could rent. It was an obvious thing to do.’

The rental firms claim their process is similar to buying and returning clothes when shopping online. Some also offer insurance for damage, such as drink stains.

Mika Simmons, an actress who has appeared in a number of ITV and Channel 4 dramas, is a renting convert after trying the service for a red carpet event. ‘I’d rather rent than wear a dress that I’m only going to wear once and which harms the environment,’ said the 44-year-old, who hosts the Happy Vagina podcast about women’s health.

The UK’s fashion rental companies are hoping to mirror the success of US firm Rent The Runway, which has millions of users.

Anna Bance, founder of one of the UK’s biggest rental firms, Girl Meets Dress, said: ‘When we launched in 2009 during the recession it was about saving money. Now a key reason our customers rent is sustainability.’

While it stocks many designers, it also features high street favourites such as Phase Eight. Items start at £19 but stretch to £119 for a £995 Amanda Wakeley gown or £149 for a £1,100 Stella McCartney dress.

Other firms cater for women looking for a taste of red-carpet luxury. Newcomer My Wardrobe HQ offers a £5,000 Alexander McQueen dress for £500 and a £2,500 Tom Ford dress for £177. Founder Sacha Newell said: ‘We offer statement pieces that women are unlikely to wear more than once.’

What you need to know about renting premium fashion


This week Australian Vogue wrote about Girl Meets Dress, asking “Could the future of sustainable fashion lie in the rental economy? Vogue speaks to experts about how you can upgrade your wardrobe by borrowing, not buying”

Read the whole article below, by EMILY CHAN


“Whether it’s a vintage Dior gown or a million-dollar Tiffany necklace, celebrities are well-accustomed to borrowing designer pieces to wear on the red carpet – especially during awards season. But for the everyday consumer, renting premium fashion remains a relatively untapped area that is far from mainstream. This, however, is about to change.

Thanks to the influx of fashion rental sites across the world – from the US-based Rent The Runway, to Girl Meets Dress in the UK and YCloset in China – the rental economy is growing, with the industry set to be worth US$1.9 billion by the end of 2023.

One of the major factors driving change is the increasing global concern surrounding sustainability; a circular economy has been widely recognised as a legitimate solution. “People are becoming more aware of their environmental footprint; these days none of us want to be wasteful,” Girl Meets Dress co-founder Anna Bance tells Vogue. “50 per cent of fast fashion pieces are discarded within a year and as responsible shoppers we are under pressure to close this loop.”

The rise of Instagram and influencer culture that feeds the need for more variety in people’s wardrobes has contributed to the boom in rental businesses too. For those who want the best of both, sustainable fashion updates if you will, renting is the perfect solution. Merri Smith, co-founder of peer-to-peer app Tulerie observes that “with social media, people are photographing their entire lives now, you don’t want to wear things over and over”. But instead of buying something new, “why not borrow it?” she asks.

Luxury brands are also beginning to tap into the potential of the rental market. In fact, Rent The Runway recently teamed up with Derek LamJason Wu and Prabal Gurung to unveil their first exclusive capsule collections. “As the scale of our business has grown, [designers] have realised [the fashion rental market is] healthy; that it’s not hurting their regular business,” says Rent The Runway’s senior buying director James Newell.

With the industry on the rise, Vogue gets the inside track on renting premium fashion.

Build on your existing wardrobe
You should think of renting as a way to upgrade your current wardrobe, says Smith, who founded Tulerie with business partner Violet Gross after finding they were increasingly borrowing from friends. “70 per cent of your wardrobe is the pieces you’re wearing over and over. We want people to look at enhancing that,” she explains. By renting pieces to supplement your core wardrobe, you can also afford to invest in more expensive staple items that would normally be out of your reach.

Don’t be afraid to take risks
As you’re not committing to a single piece, you can experiment outside of your style comfort zone when renting – including when it comes to new brands. “Be willing to take risks! This is your chance to take rational decision-making out of your fashion choices,” Newell, from Rent The Runway, advises. “Swap out clothes regularly, try new trends and borrow for parts of your life you didn’t anticipate at the start of your journey.”

Plan for special occasions
If you’ve got a big event coming up, it’s important to think ahead – as popular dresses can often get booked up. “There is no rule about how far in advance of the event you should order. The sooner the better. We get dresses booked for weeks, months ahead,” Bance, from Girl Meets Dress, advises.

Think workwear
The boom in the rental fashion market is in part due to more relaxed dress codes in the office, making workwear a key focus area. “15 to 20 years ago, a woman could wear the same anonymous suit as her male counterparts, or invest in a couple of chic dresses and get by with that,” Newell says. “Now there is such a tremendous demand to have varied looks. [Renting] offers a nice solution.”

Make use of the rental community
The online communities that exist around fashion rental sites are a valuable resource. 60 per cent of Rent The Runway customers leave reviews on items they’ve borrowed; and Tulerie, which sees users borrowing from each other, has also found their members wanting to share tips. “People want to talk, they want advice on how to style something,” Smith explains. “We are trying to create this network of women, who are bonding over [a] shared interest of clothing.”

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