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Will The Fashion Rental Market Ever Recover From Covid-19?


Written by EMILY CHAN Vogue have published an article about the impact on retail that the coronavirus pandemic is having and whether the Fashion Rental Market will ever recover from Covid-19?

At Girl Meets Dress we are doing all we can to ensure the service caters to customer’s altered plans, whether postponing wedding dates, delaying birthday plans or destination holidays – all the open orders have been given the option to simply move date – creating a flexible hassle free edit for customers rather than asking them to place new orders again once this period of lockdown and uncertainty eases.

We have also initiated new services such as drive through collections. This ensures social distancing remains in place and customers can collect and drop off orders to our London showroom without having to leave their car.

We will continue to provide service updates and customer service team is working hard to ensure all our orders are managed in the easiest way for clients. Stay in touch showroom@girlmeetsdress.com

Read the article below or visit Vogue >

“With weddings on hold and summer holidays a distant dream, clothing rental has fallen dramatically since the pandemic began. But will coronavirus change our long-term attitude towards sharing clothes? Here’s what we know so far.

Before the pandemic struck, renting clothes was seen as the ultimate solution to the damaging buy-once wear-once culture so many of us had become trapped in. Instead of purchasing a new dress for a wedding or holiday, you could borrow one instead (thereby preventing it from ending up in landfill once you no longer had use for it). The clothing rental market was also starting to change the high street. H&M and Ganni were among the first retailers to begin trialling a rental model back in 2019, while several new platforms including Hurr Collective and My Wardrobe HQ have launched pop-ups in department stores over the past year. 

Read more: How Will Covid-19 Permanently Affect Our Shopping Habits? 

But now that weddings have been put on hold and holidays seem like a distant dream, the future of rental — which was projected to be worth $2.5 billion (£2 billion) by 2023 — looks far from certain. In the US, Rent the Runway, the poster child for the fashion rental model, has already announced lay-offs, temporary pay cuts and furloughed staff in response to the pandemic. “Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, RTR’s sales have dropped significantly,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “We therefore have had to make difficult decisions to sustain the business by cutting costs across the board.” 

 The company has also faced allegations that it has not properly protected warehouse employees from coronavirus — claims that it has since strongly refuted in both a statement online and a letter from CEO Jennifer Hyman to staff. The brand says it has enacted a series of safety measures in its warehouses, as well as giving employees the option of choosing not to work, staying home and using paid benefits. “This pandemic is far from over,” the company added in its statement. “We know that we will have to continue to make difficult decisions as we navigate forward, but we will always act with our values first.”    

No events? No renting 

Rent the Runway is by no means the only rental company facing challenges as a result of the pandemic. Other platforms, including UK-based, peer-to-peer site Hurr Collective, have also seen a dramatic fall in the number of people renting. “The demand side has definitely been impacted for the simple reason of people not having events to go to,” co-founder and CEO Victoria Prew tells Vogue. 

While some sites have encouraged people to continue renting items for all those Zoom meetings we’ve been having, it’s a difficult sell considering the price point. It costs up to £170 to rent a Ganni dress for one week for example, and £72 to rent four items a month from Rent the Runway. “A lot of the items are still fairly expensive even though you rent them, but the idea would be you’re going to a wedding or event,” says Chana Baram, senior retail analyst at market research firm Mintel. “Why would anyone be renting clothes right now?” 

Tackling hygiene concerns 

Hygiene is also another major concern during the current pandemic. Clear health and safety guidelines are essential, particularly when it comes to peer-to-peer platforms such as Hurr, where lenders send clothes directly to renters. “It’s a requirement for any item that’s listed on Hurr to be dry cleaned professionally by the lender,” Prew explains, adding that Hurr directly manages the dry cleaning for items rented through its concierge service. “We are doing everything that we can [from a health and safety perspective] in tandem with government guidelines.” 

While it is not currently known what temperature kills coronavirus, the CDC says that flu viruses are killed by temperatures above 167 degrees; it recommends clothes are laundered at the highest-appropriate temperature setting. 

Despite the strict protocols in place, customers may still be put off by the thought of sharing clothes with somebody else at the moment — a worry that rental sites will also have to address beyond the pandemic. “The hygiene factor will really need to be looked into,” Baram comments. “There needs to be very clear signage on websites to explain why this is not an issue.” 

The long-term future of rental 

While rental has been hit hard during international lockdowns, there are already positive signs that the sector is recovering. YCloset in China has seen the numbers of people renting increase since lockdown measures were eased at the end of March. “With the gradual return to work, [renting] is also gradually picking up,” says founder and executive director Mengyuan Liu. 

Some rental companies may also look at shifting their current models following the pandemic. YCloset, which is backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, added resale to its services in September 2019, for example. “At present, the secondhand luxury trade is developing rapidly,” Liu comments. Resale saw a huge uptick following the 2008 recession, as shoppers who were short on cash looked for more value for money — and the same is predicted amid the economic downturn caused by Covid-19. 

 It’s hoped that rental could also become increasingly popular post-pandemic, particularly as it could provide an additional source of income for some users. Hurr Collective has already started encouraging people to list their garments online, considering so many of us are sorting through our closets right now. “People now have the time to detox their wardrobes,” Prew explains. “For the past few weeks, we’ve financially incentivised people to list their wardrobes, where if you list three items you’re given £15 credit, and if you list five verified items you’re given £20 credit.”

The stripped-back lifestyle we’ve all become accustomed to since the pandemic began is likely to have a long-term effect on our shopping habits. Sustainability is expected to remain a huge concern — meaning the rental model, as an alternative to buying new clothes outright, is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. “My personal view is that people are going to be more conscious than ever about their fashion footprint,” Prew adds. “I’m hopeful rental will do well [after] this.”

Does Girl Meets Dress rent maternity clothes?


Q&A Maternity dresses for hire

Does GMD rent maternity clothes?

You can access our maternity collection either through the pay as you go method of renting (2 and 7 day rentals) Or by joining our membership through the monthly subscription. Our most popular membership for mothers-to-be is the Unlimited £99 / monthly membership – rent a rotating wardrobe and wear top brands at every stage of pregnancy without the investment. To learn more about using subscription email: customersupport@girlmeetsdress.com

How does maternity sizing work?

If an item is in the “Maternity” section https://hire.girlmeetsdress.com/collections/maternity-dresses or it says Maternity in the style name or description, this means that it is a style that our customers wear while pregnant.  You can use your pre-pregnancy size in these items. You know your own body better than us, so as a general rule, go for the size you are wearing in other clothes at the time of your order.

Other styles that are found within our maternity collection are not made for maternity but have certain characteristics that work for expectant women.  We recommend you increase your size by one or two sizes, depending on your trimester and how other clothes are fitting. If you have questions about size or fit, you can reach out to a Maternity Stylist member of our team: customersupport@girlmeetsdress.com


What’s the best way to shop for maternity clothes on Girl Meets Dress?

Select the Maternity section from the menu https://hire.girlmeetsdress.com/collections/maternity-dresses which will personalize your shopping experience into viewing only those dresses we have selected as suitable for pregnancy. Maternity and bump-friendly products will be displayed on models with a bump, when available.

How do appointments work with Girl Meets Dress Maternity?

In the same way as all our appointment visits, we can help you with suggestions / style and event dress codes and dress availability for specific dates: showroom@girlmeetsdress.com


Does Girl Meets Dress rent bridesmaid dresses?

Yes. Girl Meets Dress offers dresses to hire for both brides and bridesmaids. You can also add a home try on in advance with both a 2 or 7 day rental booking. Reserve rental for the big day,  and also ask us if you would like to offer all your wedding guests a 20% promotional code. You can choose from any of the styles that we offer on our site for your bridesmaids to wear.

Bridesmaid dresses to rent > http://hire.girlmeetsdress.com/collections/bridesmaid-dresses

Does Girl Meets Dress rent wedding gowns?

Yes we offer styles for brides, wedding guests, wedding events and bridesmaids etc. If you see any wedding dress to rent on our website that you wish to wear on your big day we can certainly accommodate that – just get in touch! If you need to hire the wedding dress for a longer number of days i.e for a destination trip.

If you like a specific bridal designer that we don’t stock, get in touch to make a suggestion: designers@girlmeetsdress.com

If you have a wedding dress that you wish to sell, do also please get in touch and we can see if this is something we can buy from you or sell for you.


Can my bridesmaids try on dresses at home ahead of time?

Yes. Our Wedding service for both brides and bridesmaids, Mother of Groom or Bride and all guests can include an at home try on of up to 3 items total per person per event. The at home try on can be scheduled up to 1 months in advance of your wedding date/wedding event. You can choose from any of the styles that we offer on our site to try on.

Why not schedule all items to arrive on the same date and to the same shipping address so that everyone is able to try on together, and even swap items with each other to see what works best. Just think of it as another fun wedding event to add to your agenda!

Is Royal Ascot 2020 cancelled?


Will Royal Ascot 2020 go ahead? The race meeting is still on despite Grand National being cancelled due to coronavirus.

Many of you have dress hire for Royal Ascot reservations in June and for now we are advising to keep the bookings live, until we hear the decision on whether this event is going to be cancelled.

Royal Ascot is set to take place from June 16 to June 20 this year while the Epsom Derby is scheduled for a fortnight before on June 6.

Royal Ascot in June is currently going ahead as planned but is in major doubt amid the ongoing issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has meant that many of the global sport events taking place before with a host of major events being postponed or cancelled. A statement from Royal Ascot read: “As you may have seen the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced (17th March) that racing will be suspended until the end of April due to the national coronavirus crisis.

We will keep up to date with the news and updates and keep our customers informed of major announcements.

If you have any questions, concerns or order enquiries please do get in touch: showroom@girlmeetsdress.com

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