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‘Have a one-night-stand with a dress’ Guardian feature

If you picked up any of the weekend papers last week, you will notice that the topic of renting is everywhere once again. The Guardian wrote a feature called ‘Have a one-night-stand with a dress’: the fashion rental revolution, written by Jess Cartner-Morley.

Jess has been writing about Girl Meets Dress for the past 10 years so nothing new to the topic herself, and the sentence “Hiring clothes, until now limited to fancy dress and morning suits, is being rolled out on to the frontline of fashion. It is too early to know whether this will catch on…” may not entirely be true… as it has ‘caught on’ all over the world a long time ago. The United Kingdom was in fact the first country to use this way of shopping since we launched in 2009. And Rent the Runway in the US the same year. In other countries, Australia, China and India, services followed and being used by millions of women all over the world every day.

…but with many brand new companies now launching here in the UK, the subject is inevitably once again being written about.

Read the article below:

“Instead of buying a new dress for each event, join the sustainable fashion movement and hire your outfit instead”

“Late in 1876, William Orton, then president of Western Union, received a proposal from Alexander Graham Bell. Bell offered to sell Orton the patent for his new invention, the telephone, for $100,000. Orton turned him down. “Why,” he scoffed, “would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?”

Hmmm. My point is: things that you don’t think will catch on sometimes do. Keep that in mind, for a moment, while I tell you that this season’s most daring party dressing trend is not a hemline, nor a designer – it is renting your dress, rather than buying it. Hiring clothes, until now limited to fancy dress and morning suits, is being rolled out on to the frontline of fashion. It is too early to know whether this will catch on, but it is an exciting possibility for anyone trying to square the circle of fashion and sustainability. And, well, stranger things have happened.

There are other logical ways to address fashion’s eco problem – we could just keep wearing the clothes we already have, or invest in a capsule wardrobe of ethically produced pieces that will last – but they require us to forsake fashion as fun. And fun is a crucial part of fashion. A rental model has the potential to include all the dopamine-hit elements – the thrill of the new, the joy of getting dressed up – while ditching the environmental wrecking ball of fast fashion. The cliche about millennials spending their incomes on brunch instead of houses may be just that, but it is true that our zeitgeist prizes experiences over belongings. And while we care as much as ever, if not more, about how we look at parties, weddings and even those salary-sapping brunches, the clothes we wear might well be rethought as an expense associated with an event, rather than an investment. Sequined dresses and dramatic LBDs are the most-wanted pieces on most rental sites. File alongside a blow dry, or ombre nail art, or your drinks bill, or taxi home.

The idea for rental platform Girl Meets Dress was born when former fashion PR Anna Bance realised that the practice of loaning designer dresses to celebrities to wear once for an event could be rolled out to civilians. Ten years on, Girl Meets Dress has a “wardrobe in the cloud” of more than 4,000 pieces to hire. “Sometimes you want to take an Uber, sometimes you want to drive the car you own,” says Bance. In the same way, she predicts “half of women’s wardrobes are going to move into the cloud”. Girl Meets Dress is simple to use: no need to subscribe, you can try on up to three dresses and only pay for the one you wear, and two-night dress hire costs between £19 and £119 depending on the retail value and popularity of the dress.

Just one month after launch, newbie My Wardrobe HQ, which draws on clothes sitting unused in brand warehouses and the closets of fashion collectors, already has a 70% repeat user rate. My Wardrobe has put thought into the logistics: cleaning, which research found was a psychological barrier for would-be renters, is taken care of, using eco-friendly methods. Cofounder Tina Lake, former head of buying at Monsoon, “wanted to right the wrongs that have been done in the fashion industry. I felt this could be the perfect time to make up for any damage done in my earlier career,” she says. “When we came up with ‘cashmere touch’ knitwear we thought we were democratising fashion – we didn’t realise that those millions of acrylic jumpers that sold for less than £12 would end up in landfill, and be there for generations. With My Wardrobe, our aim is to extend the lifecycle of luxury items.”

As a spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion and the founder of fashion rental platform Higher Studio, Sara Arnold is the poster girl for the crossover of clothes-for-hire and environmentalism. As well as putting a brake on shopping, “a rental model incentivises design for longevity”, she says. Higher Studio’s clothes skew alternative in their aesthetic – think Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Molly Goddard and Phoebe English. “What we hear most from customers is that we allow them to experiment and have fun with clothes in a way they hadn’t before,” says Arnold.

For her university ball, recent fashion graduate Lotti Martin-Fuller spent £20 on renting a dress worth £100 from Hirestreet, an accessibly priced platform renting mostly high street pieces. “I’ve always felt guilty about consuming fast fashion,” she says, “but also wanted to be up-to-date with trends. As a student, I didn’t have £100 to splurge on a dress I might never wear again – and I live in an Instagram generation where it’s almost a faux pas to be seen in a garment more than once. So this was a win-win.” Hirestreet’s founder Isabella West reports that youthful clients are proud to tell people their dress is hired. She notices clients’ shopping habits are evolving to fit a rental model – by planning outfits well in advance in order to book dresses, for instance.

Hurr Collective launched this year as “the Airbnb of fashion”, says cofounder Tori Prew, with a peer-to-peer rental model. This calls for a more significant mindset adjustment. It feels more like paying a friend of a friend for the loan of a dress, than a rental version of online shopping. But there is a significant advantage, as I find when I browse the Hurr site and find a dress from cult label The Vampire’s Wife – a perfect minor-key party dress, in Liberty florals, with gold lurex trimmings – in my size. It’s a doable £114 to rent, in contrast to a prohibitive £800 retail pricetag. What’s more, when I click on the dress I am taken to the page showing its owner’s other clothes – including a Rixo sequined dress I’ve often admired (£84 to rent, retail £335). The sizes are subtly different across various labels in a way that precisely reflects my own experience of how big or small those labels come up, so it’s like stumbling across an edit preapproved by someone who matches my taste and body shape. Another early arriver on the peer-to-peer space is By Rotation, an app aimed at generation Instagram which is a treasure trove for of-the-moment labels (you can hire a leopard-print Ganni party dress for £9 a day) as well as designer staples (a classic quilted black leather, gold-strap Chanel handbag is £50 a day).

Of course, once you’ve sent it back you have nothing to show for your money. The maths takes some adjusting to if a bulging sack of Zara loot is your benchmark of value for money – although it is worth reminding yourself how infrequently those last-minute party buys turn out to be great long-term investments, and becoming a lender upturns the financial odds in your favour. Tania-Claudia Berresford, who rents out clothes on Hurr, says one of her dresses “has more than paid for itself” in fees already. By Rotation claims you can make money back on an item worth £100 in between three and five rentals, depending on the listing price you choose.

Right now, renting is a victim of its own success. Demand outstrips supply, and Hurr currently has a waiting list of 10,000 – although you may be able to skip the queue if you can get a referral from an existing member. Even then, you are likely to have a better user experience if you are a size 10 and London-based, than if you are a size 18 and live outside a major city. What’s more, detractors point to the environmental impact of the miles travelled by clothing zigzagging between wearers. To combat this, Hurr Collective items can be delivered – within London – using the green cycle courier service Pedals; Higher Studio has a subscription model that steers users towards keeping pieces for longer, rather than exchanging them after one outing.

Event dressing for parties and weddings is just the test case for rental. Already up and running is Cocoon, a “members’ club for handbag lovers”. For £99 a month, you can hire one handbag at a time, keeping it as long as you want, or swapping as soon as you want. Stock includes the Bottega Veneta new-season squishy intrecciato leather handbag that the entire fashion industry is lusting over, as well as modern classics like the Loewe puzzle bag and timeless icons from Saint Laurent. The next frontier will be brands launching their own rental channels, a development that My Wardrobe’s Tina Lake describes as “inevitable. Retail pundits are predicting that by 2025 20% of contemporary and luxury revenue will be from rental.” The new collection from hot London label Farleigh.io will be the first by an emerging British designer to be available on a direct-to-consumer rental model. The more expensive, event-orientated pieces – think 70s-style ruffled party dresses in inky velvets – will be available both as click-to-rent for four-day periods, and as click-to-buy.

For now, renting a dress still feels adventurous; even – when the dress arrives still-warm from someone else’s wardrobe – daringly intimate. But it’s party season, after all. The time for brief encounters, for living in the moment, with no commitment and no baggage. Have a one-night-stand with a dress. The planet will love you for it.”


First Rent The Runway and Girl Meets Dress in 2009. Now…

We have been reading an article online by goodmorningamerica.com about 7 clothing rental services to keep the US female shopper’s wardrobe in constant rotation.

You can read the whole feature here >

Rent The Runway has led the charge in the US when it comes to borrowing your wardrobe through a subscription service. Launching at the same time as Girl Meets Dress in the UK – 2009. Now, multiple companies, as well as major retailers, are following suit, making fashion more accessible.

In September, major retailer Bloomingdale’s launched a monthly subscription rental service called My List.

This new service gives members access to more than 60 of the major retailer’s brands.

The new launch for Bloomingdale’s makes it one of the first-ever subscription rental services from an upscale department store. Members get access to over 60 brands along with over 100 exclusive pieces.

Also, at the end of July, a new company called Nuuly which is owned by URBN (the parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People) launched, and it now carries over 100 cool brands from labels many of us are familiar with.

There have also been popular stores such as Loft and New York and Company that have adopted the idea of giving customers the option to rent their favorite looks.

In the era of fast fashion, as brands churn out an ever-changing array of clothing, many consumers find it nice to lean on subscription services that allow them flexibility in how, and for how long, to acquire clothing.


New fashion rental platforms

 

There are articles daily now about new fashion rental platforms in the US. New customers trying Nuuly and getting $938 worth of clothes from Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People for a huge saving.
Avid shoppers of URBN brands including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People are excited to try the company’s new clothing rental subscription service. The retailer is launching an online subscription  allowing people to borrow six items to wear for a month before swapping them.

In terms of clothing, millennials in particular want variety and sustainability. Young people are turning their backs on throwaway dresses. At Girl Meets Dress the clothing subscription is £99 / month for unlimited dress hires in the UK. So if you want a one night stand with fashion, rent a dress from our London rental showroom in Fulham SW6. Book an appointment and try on dress hire options with our team.

Of course the returned garments are dry cleaned and inspected before they are loaned out again.

Online clothing rental is set to grow to $2.5bn by 2023, according to research firm GlobalData.

The dress hire destination to rent a dress from designer brands. Evening dress hire in the UK: long evening gowns, lace evening dresses and others


What to Wear For Awards Season

Award season is in full swing with the NTAs last week, The BAFTAs on the 10th Feb and The Brits on the 20th Feb! With all that in mind, we’ve featured some of our favourite award ceremony dresses, whether you’re going for a classic all black gown or a stand out sequin dress.

A Timeless Classic

This hourglass strapless gown is perfect for anyone who is favouring a classy elegant look. With a sculpted neckline and seaming detail, its perfect for the BAFTAs

JILL JILL STUART - Hourglass Strapless Gown - Designer Dress hire

Fun and Sophisticated

This playful fashion-forward dress is a silk organza full-length gown with a ruffle bodice. A perfect dress for the BRITs, which also comes in white and has detachable straps

ARIELLA - Naomi Black Gown - Designer Dress hire

 

 

Stand Out Sequin

This dress is for the women who are not afraid to stand out, with this body hugging v- neck gown also available in red

DRESSES BY LARA - Lattice Silver Gown - Designer Dress hire

Browse more of our award ceremony dresses to hire on our website under our black tie event feature

 

 

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