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GMD in the news

Is renting clothes the future of fast fashion?

Wriiten by Razan Alzayani for The National, this feature about the news of H&M partnering with YCloset in China to test clothing hire. Read the full article below:

“Retail giant H&M recently announced that it would test out clothing rentals at its flagship Stockholm store.

In an unexpected move for fast fashion, retail giant H&M is going to trial renting out its clothes. The multinational retail company will be offering members of its customer loyalty programme the chance to rent selected items from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections via its flagship Stockholm store.

The Conscious Exclusive collection is a higher-end, limited-edition sustainable range that retails from about Dh350 to Dh1,000. With the new rental service, up to three pieces from this collection can be rented out at a time for a week, and for a cost of 350 Swedish krona (Dh135) per piece. There will even be a repair service, where customers can get their items mended or upgraded. 

The concept of renting out one’s wardrobe is hardly new: in the US, Rent the Runway, which launched in 2009, has been widely lauded as a game-changer. Closer to home, brands such as Designer-24, House of MC and The Mode cater to those who want to hire clothes in the UAE.

However, the concept behind clothing rental services was initially to provide very high-end clothes to customers at a fraction of the cost. That means paying for luxury outfits that would only be worn once or twice and then returned. But the last few years have seen a shift in the paradigm, with customers opting to rent rather than own, even when it comes to everyday wear. And businesses are rising to the demand. Rent the Runway has since introduced subscriptions for everyday wardrobe items. In the UK, Girl Meets Dress is a service that allows subscribers unlimited dress hires for £99 (Dh470).

And the big brands are listening, too. This year alone has seen Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Banana Republic, American Eagle and Bloomingdale’s announce subscription services at varying costs.

This shift has largely been credited to demand from millennials (who are sometimes called Generation Rent), as well as Gen Z – it seems these age ranges prefer the flexibility that comes with renting over ownership. Perhaps this is because of increased awareness about the negative impact of fast fashion on the environment.

According to a recent United Nations study, “nearly 20 per cent of global waste water is produced by the fashion industry, which also emits about 10 per cent of global carbon emissions”. Maybe rent will become the fourth “R” in the environmental movement, alongside reuse, reduce and recycle.

With big labels also entering the rent market, customers may soon see a future that combines the thrill of wearing a new outfit every week, with the knowledge that their fresh fashion is more ethical.

Sure, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out – the environmental impact of constant delivery and return policies, and the chemicals used in the process of dry cleaning, for instance. But, for now, it looks like H&M has taken a step in the right direction.”


Something borrowed: should you rent your wedding dress?

Last Friday’s Evening Standard wrote about Girl Meets Dress as an alternative to buying a brand new wedding dress.  Read the full article below:

“As London’s first second-hand wedding dress shop opens in Fulham, Chloe Street asks, should we always say “I do” in something new?

It’s no secret now that overconsumption and waste in the fashion industry is destroying the planet.

Around £140 million worth of clothing is sent to landfill each year, while the value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion.

Responding to the crisis, a crop of second-hand clothing sites and dress rental platforms have launched with the intent of reducing consumption and prolonging the lifespan of clothing.

And yet the one item that most women still buy new (typically at significant expense), wear once and hold onto forever? Their wedding dress.

The reasons for this are largely sentimental (who wants to wear someone else’s wedding dress, right?) and also down to the fact that brides on a budget can now find myriad affordable options on the high street.

Yet given we are facing a climate emergency, might it be time to change the narrative around wedding dress ownership? Could there in fact be some magic in foregoing fast fashion options and instead wearing something fabulous and pre-loved on your big day?

Hamish Shephard, founder of leading wedding planning app Bridebook.co.uk, certainly thinks so. He predicts 2020 will be the year of the eco-wedding and expects a surge in brides choosing to rent their wedding dresses.

“We are definitely starting to see more of the 100,000 brides currently using our app around the world searching for wedding dress rental companies. There is a clear appetite, but with so many affordable wedding dresses out there for them too it’s a slow transition,” says Shephard.

“After Princess Eugenie’s plastic-free wedding late last year, we are seeing a lot of couples finding ways to make their wedding more green and renting wedding dresses is just one of the many ways we see traditional habits changing.”

For Anna Bance, founder of dress rental platform Girl Meets Dress, which has had a wedding dress category on the site since it launched back in 2009, weddings are “big business,” with brides, bridesmaids, wedding guests and mothers of both the bride and groom using the service.

“Our millennial customers especially prove an anti-materialism shift, and don’t want to carry the load of owning more things, including their wedding dress,” says Bance. “They want the quality of luxury, but their relatively lower incomes compared to older generations have put luxury goods largely out-of-bounds. So they’ve turned toward rental as well as pre-owned luxury goods to satisfy their need. They also tend to live in urban areas, where space and storage is at a premium.” 

Bance says some brides rent on Girl Meets Dress “because it means they can wear a high end brand that otherwise would be over their budget. Other brides renting for their wedding are already high spenders at Net a Porter or Harvey Nichols, with wardrobes full of expensive clothing. But they use Girl Meets Dress for convenience, for variety and for the sustainability angle.”  

For eco brides that prefer to own not rent their dress, a pre-loved purchase is an excellent option.

Brides do Good is a sustainable wedding dress shop (London’s first) that opened in Fulham last month. It sells new, sample, and pre-loved designer wedding gowns from 61 leading international wedding gown designers, including Vera Wang, Charlie Brear, Caroline Castigliano, Temperley, and Pronovias. The stock is a combination of donations of out of season styles from bridal retailers and designers, and also wedding dresses donated by past brides.

Not only are the gowns, which range from sizes 4-30, significantly more affordable than if you were to buy them new, but Brides do Good also donate 100 per cent of their £30 appointment fees and up to two thirds of sale profits to charity projects which empower young girls, educate communities and strive to end child marriage, so there’s even more to feel good about when buying your dress of dreams.

“Brides do Good is so much more than a wedding boutique. We are a movement that connects women from all over the world, harnessing the power of the bridal industry to create long-term change,” says founder Chantal Khoueiry. “Every dress that is donated, bought or sold takes us one step closer to ending child marriage, by empowering vulnerable young girls and educating communities around the world.”

For some, nothing will compare to saying “I do” in something new, but for those open to something borrowed, there’s an increasingly attractive array of sustainable alternatives.

“Of course there are women who would rather own their wedding dress and keep it forever to pass onto daughters etc. But it is about having greater options,” says Bance. “We want women to rethink how they build a wardrobe around smarter choices.”


Press: Luxury for sale: four high-end clothes rentals to look out for

This week we were feature in a Euro news about fashion rental.

Read the whole article here or below >

 

“Want a chic new look for a special occasion but not keen on the environmental impact buying new clothes brings? Perhaps high-end clothes rental services could be the answer. Here, we round up the best services guaranteed to make you dazzle and improve your green credentials.

Fast fashion are dirty words nowadays. Where once we bought new outfits with impunity, today it’s all about buying less and crucially making more considered choices about where and who we buy from.

For those who love a new look, charity shops, vintage stalls and swap meets where fashionistas trade their old threads, offer a swift solution: for a fraction of the price of an off-the-peg outfit, you can support a worthwhile cause by picking up some preloved and potentially one-off pieces. And then there’s the environmental brownie points too; the reduction in waste and resourcefulness that repurposing old items brings.

Preloved and potentially one-off pieces

But that’s not the only way. ”

Not only does it cut down on wardrobe space, it provides the opportunity to try new looks from aspirational brands at a snip of the price of the full-priced product. Already a trend in the US and more and more so in China after social influencer Jiang Chacha fronted rental platform YCloset’s campaign to drive subscriber uptake, hiring clothes offers a refreshed wardrobe in a greener way.

If you want a silk wrap dress for an interview, there’ll be a site for it. A maxi dress for a summer wedding? It can be arranged. And even if you need a new casual look, more and more platforms are branching out into everyday wear.

So before you head to the high street, why not try one of these brands. Here, we look at four of the best brands offering a sustainable fashion fix.

 

Girl Meets Dress

A relative old-timer on the renting block, Girl Meets Dress was founded a decade ago by former Hermes publicist Anna Bance, who saw a gap in the market for a clothes hire service. Once on the site, take your pick from Victoria Beckham dresses, Alexander McQueen styles and Stella McCartney classics and then choose your subscription package.

 

Nothing to wear

Founded by Cyrine Allani Joaristi, Nothing to wear is passionate about sustainable fashion. Aghast with the disposable nature of fashion, Cyrine, who used to work for Christian Dior Couture, set up the designer rental service as an alternative to buying an outfit for a one-off occasion never to be worn again.

The result is her hiring service in which chic pieces can be loaned for four or eight days, giving just enough time to be worn and enjoyed at weddings, parties and gatherings.

Look out or Chanel classics, as well as pieces by Miu Miu and Christian Lacroix, as well as a whole host of other designers. You can even rent bridal gowns, as well as the usual evening dresses and bags. And for those with a bulging wardrobe full of outfits that no longer see the light of day, you can have your wardrobe assessed and start earning money loaning out your pieces on the site. The company will then pay the renter a percentage of the price of the outfit every time it is rented out. A win all round.

Front Row

A London-only service, Front Row is as high-end as it gets. Come here for pieces by up-and-coming designers before everyone starts coveting their threads or hunt out timeless looks from established houses including Chanel, Fendi, Jenny Packham and Roland Mouret. As well as picking out a capsule holiday wardrobe, you can also browse trending outfits and rent the site’s most popular items.

MUD Jeans

Finding a perfect pair of jeans can feel like a Herculean task at times but MUD Jeans could just win over eco-conscious fashionistas with their innovative leasing initiative.

Made from virgin organic cotton and the recycled cotton from old jeans, the company rent out their jeans for a one-off €29 fee, plus €7.50 a month for 12 months. Once the year is up, you can decide whether to keep the jeans or to trade them in for a new pair – in which case your previous pair will be repaired or recycled.

Another bonus is that MUD are part of the Fair Wear Foundation which seek to treat garment workers fairly and improve working standards. The company are transparent about their ambition to build on and better the conditions for the people who work on their products and encourage shoppers to learn more about the story behind their denims.”

Words: Keeley Bolger


Girl Meets Dress featured in the Pool!

Girl Meets Dress has recently been featured in the Pool!

With all this in mind, I gave it a go. 
One day, I selected a Marc Jacobs printed-silk dress from among the Self-Portrait, Diane Von Furstenberg and Red Valentino dresses on Girl Meets Dress, forking out £29 for two days plus £9.95 delivery (including returns – little more than the fare into town and back it would cost to hit the shops). It arrived by 2pm the next day, immaculately clean, steamed and neatly wrapped in tissue paper, with a slip dress to wear underneath. It was even accompanied by testers of hair products and new chocolate bars and, frankly, who isn’t a sucker for a freebie? Eleni in customer services, who I rang to confirm the order with, was kind and patient, informing me that if the dress did not fit or suit me and the tags stayed on, I could have a full refund if I could get it back to the post office the next morning at the latest. Annoyingly, a case of flu meant that instead of my planned night out in said Marc Jacobs dress, I was relegated to my sick bed and thus unable to take my designer rental out on the town. The unworn dress went back into its packaging and was promptly returned to the post office. Know this: I had an email confirming my refund on the next working day and the money was in my account the day after – the speediest refund in my online-shopping history. As a lifelong hoarder, with no problem purchasing repeatedly and expensively, I can honestly say this could be a turning point for me.

Check out the whole article here.

For those who live in London, Girl Meets Dress offers same day delivery, for all orders placed before 1pm, so its not too late to hire dresses of your dreams!

For all our other UK and European customers, we offer next day delivery for all orders placed before 1pm.

With Girl Meets Dress, you can now rent the runway, as the dresses you see on the Girl Meets Dress website, are always fresh off the front row of the catwalk.

Do you have lots of events to attend each month and want to wear a new designer dress each time? Why not become a Girl Meets Dress member?

If you need any suggestions or styling advice for any event, email: Enquiries@girlmeetsdress.com

Remember you can also book a Girl Meets Dress, London showroom appointment by emailing: showroom@girlmeetsdress.com

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