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Wear the Walk

‘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.”


Rent Designer Dresses – London’s first luxury designer clothes rental service UK

 

 

Over the festive period while we were all out of the office and spending time with family, the amount of features written on the subject of Fashion hire, and surrounding the topic of creating a sustainable wardrobe was incredible.

This article below in the Observer Fashion – by Leah Harper @theharpsbizarre on Sat 22 Dec 2018 received over 300 shares and promotes the benefits of subscribing to fashion libraries because they saves money and cuts out waste.

Titled “Check it out: why the smart set are now renting their clothes” below is the link to the full piece:

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/dec/22/fashion-libraries-ethical-clothing-borrowing

 

“With the sales in full swing and festive soirees dominating social calendars, fast fashion is showing few signs of slowing down. But for those consumers with more parties than pounds, fashion libraries – where clothes can be rented rather than bought – are becoming increasingly popular.

“I don’t have the financial income to invest in high quality but I do want to change my style regularly,” said Zoe Partridge, founder of rental service Wear the Walk, which launched last year. “So my problem was either to invest every six months in a luxury item or to buy lots of fast fashion. There was no middle ground. I wanted to create that.”

As the party season continues, the appeal of borrowing instead of buying is on the rise. It allow partygoers to wear items that may be beyond their usual budget and means they aren’t under pressure to wear them to every possible occasion in order to feel they are getting their money’s worth.

Fashion libraries allow users to check out clothes, wear them for a set period, then return them to the library (where dry-cleaning is usually taken care of) in exchange for something new. Some also offer the option to buy – ideal if it turns out you can’t bear to say goodbye to the item after all.

“We realise the burden and commitment that come with ownership and the freedom that comes with using what we really gain value from, when we want it,” said Sara Arnold, founder of subscription-only rental service Higher Studio, which launched in April. “It comes down to re-evaluating what we want from our fashion objects.”

Renting clothes is not a new concept: high-priced items worn for a single occasion, such as a prom night or a wedding, have long been available for hire. Sites such as Front Row and Girl Meets Dress offer designer items at a low cost – the latter specialising in dresses and catering for events such as races, premieres and awards. But subscription services, which offer long-term borrowing on everyday items, are beginning to gain traction.
Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, launched the first streetwear hire pop-up store, The Drop, earlier this month, offering items for hire (starting at just £10 for four or seven days). It focused on streetwear styles – trainers topped the list of the most-coveted item on show – rather than just dresses. Available apparel also included a Maharishi tiger-style tour jacket (worth £750 new) and a Dirty South padded jacket (worth £210).

The trend for renting clothes also has the scope to tackle other forms of “throwaway” fashion: for example, the US-based subscription service Le Tote invites users to choose from classic or maternity ranges. For pregnant women, the fact that clothes will only be worn for a short period is perhaps more easily understood than it is for those of us who vow to wear something for years because it cost the same as a month’s rent.

But is rentable fashion bad news for designers? Not necessarily, according to Arnold. “We don’t own the stock but split the earnings with the brands when items are rented,” she said. “We want them to be able to earn from quality and durability rather than the quantity sold.”

With UK households sending 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste to landfill each year, and the average number of times a garment is worn before it is retired dropping by 36% in the past 15 years, fashion libraries offer an ethical solution.

According to research by Westfield, seven out of 10 UK shoppers would pay to rent “the hottest fashion item of the moment”. For 33% of them, the appeal of renting clothes lay in saving money, while one in eight were motivated by the desire to shop in a more sustainable way.

It’s not just in the UK that shoppers are keen to maximise wardrobe space. At Lena fashion library in Amsterdam, subscriptions allocate customers points that can then be “spent” on renting new and vintage clothes, alongside the option to buy. In Gothenburg, Sweden, fashion library Klädoteket offers lease periods of up to three months – 450kr (£40) for two items, 650kr (£57) for four. Items range from sequin dresses to baseball caps and, if customers decide they want to own an item they are renting, they will be given 15% off the retail price.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Fresh Fashion Library offers one of the most budget-friendly options: $30 (£17.50) per month membership allows customers to borrow three items for an unlimited lease period. Which beats scouring the sales for something to see in the new year – and then never wearing it again.”

 

 

 


The Fashion Renting Revolution is Here | Dress Hire UK

At Girl Meets Dress, our aim has always been to build you a Closetless Future — More than ever now, in this world, you don’t need a physical closet to house hundreds of items you don’t wear most of the time, and most items you’ve worn once.
Renting makes members more environmentally-responsible. Cutting down on fast fashion, an closing the loop on over consumption!
This is just at the beginning and we can’t wait to tell you what’s next. Thank you to all our customers – we can’t do it without you!

Women regularly wear only 20% of their closets, so by hiring your dresses, with Girl Meets Dress you can access a dream closet in ‘the cloud’ and return them when they’re no longer needed.

Our hire fans get addicted to our ‘INFINITE’ subscription service and 70% report spending less money on clothing. Members are wearing rented outfits all month, for both evening occations; dinners / drinks / dates etc and also work and casual weekend activities.

With GMD INFINITE, women can refresh their wardrobe on a monthly basis, renting dresses they can keep for a few weeks and wear to 1 event or 5! At £99/month, we believe that renting the latest dresses is environmentally-sustainable alternative to the wasteful, throwaway culture which has grown tremendously over the past 20 years.

Our customers don’t have to become a member. We still have the PAY AS YOU GO hire option for all items. Simply order the dresses you want, for your individual event dates. Perfect for the special occasions in your life – weddings, dinners, black tie festive events. Prom time, University balls and Weddings! Hire dresses and reserve a few to try on for tonight or a few months from now. FREE DELIVERY AND RETURN, AND FULL REFUNDS FOR ANYTHING YOU DON’T WEAR.


Press Girl Meets Dress | Sustainable News | Dress hire uk

This morning we were reading an article mentioning dress rental Girl Meets Dress in the context of how the fashion industry is evolving in order to decrease fast fashion. The article is below by Barney Cotton on BUSINESS LEADER https://www.businessleader.co.uk/hm-and-zara-the-sustainable-fashion-brands-killing-the-environment/56166/

H&M AND ZARA, THE ‘SUSTAINABLE’ FASHION BRANDS KILLING THE ENVIRONMENT

H&M and Zara are the two largest fashion retailers in the world, contributing enormously to the fashion industry being worth $2.4tn. Both launched sustainable and ethical clothing collections, but do they really care for the environment or are they simply contributing to the monsters in our closets?

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, coming second to the oil sector. 20% of industrial water pollution stems from textile development and this booming industry emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

These appalling consequences of the lucrative fashion industry are only going to increase as consumers continue to buy cheap clothes. By 2050, it is estimated that clothing production will account for 25% of the world’s carbon budget. That’s more than road transport and agriculture.

The problem isn’t what’s available to buy, it’s the throwaway culture of continuously buying new garments.

So, what’s the cause? Fast fashion.

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?
Fast fashion is the mass-production of cheap clothes, a trend that has exacerbated with the influx of retailers, like H&M and Zara, offering never-ending seasons of new clothes. It amounts to over 80 billion garments being sold to customers annually.

The fast fashion model has spiraled into a marketer’s dream. Consumer purchase behaviours are driven by short-term pleasure. We show off our wealth, style and personality but once this temporary fulfilment is over, it’s a vicious cycle to continuously satisfy our rational materialistic values, becoming a desire not a necessity.

With continuous targeted advertisements, sales and discounts, it’s hard to resist.

H&M – HYPOCRITES OR ADVOCATES FOR SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
H&M imply they’re leading the industry towards a sustainability wave. But is this just a publicity stunt to increase revenue or do they really care?

H&M’s Conscious collection is ethically sourced and uses recycled and organic materials for ladies, men’s and kids’ fashion. With clothes as cheap as £5, is this just promoting our short-term habits of single-use clothing? This sustainable range accounts for only 5% of their overall products, so how conscious are they of our planet?

Their recycling initiative offers customers vouchers for recycling old clothing but this only influences further consumptions, relying on the fast fashion model.

However, H&M can be praised for taking a step in the right direction beginning with their sustainable clothes and raising awareness of the worrying side effects of our shopping addictions.

IS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FASHION NEXT SEASON’S TREND FOR ZARA?
Inditex Group, the owner of Zara, are the largest fashion company in the world, meaning they have an enormous potential to reduce our environmental impacts. They’ve been ranked as the most sustainable fashion company by Dow Jones Sustainability Index, so what are they doing?

Zara aim to stop sending all unused textiles to landfills by 2020. Their goal is to develop an efficient life cycle for their clothes, meaning less textile landfill waste. They’ve begun taking steps by reusing unused textiles.

Like H&M Conscious, Zara have started using recycled materials and ecologically grown cotton through the Zara Join Life range, a trendy and reasonably priced collection which has significantly grown in popularity since launching in 2016.

THE RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Fashion isn’t always pretty – every step of the fashion supply chain has horrendous statistics. For each tonne of dyed fabric, 200 tonnes of water is needed. With factories in countries such as India, Bangladesh and China churning out thousands of items per minute, these effects are aggravated to an alarming level of 1.5 trillion litres of water used annually.

The shocking costs to our environment can be seen by the complete loss of the Aral Sea, where cotton production has converted a sea into a desert.

The problem doesn’t stop after clothing has been produced. A report by the UN found 90% of chemically infused wastewater in developing countries is released into local rivers and is used by locals daily.

Once we’re bored of our clothes what happens? In the UK alone, we throw away 300,000 tonnes of clothing a year to landfills. Synthetic fibres, like polyester, are used in 72% of modern clothing and they’re non-biodegradable, meaning each garment can take up to 200 years to decompose.

THE FUTURE OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY
How can we move on from the fast fashion model without compromising the profits of brands who are already facing difficulties with high street retailing?

It’s a commercial challenge, but organisations like Greenpeace and The True Cost, a Netflix documentary, are raising awareness amongst shoppers. If consumer desires evolve, the industry will have to respond, but it won’t be a quick process.

Clothing donations to charities have increased by 2.3% annually, suggesting a step towards a longer life-cycle for our clothes.

Suit hire is already a norm for men’s formalwear, and rental clothing companies such as Girl Meets Dress, are now offering short-term access to bespoke gowns and designer gear at low costs.

The rental model aims to reduce the amount of clothing we buy and avoids the ‘not wanting to be seen in the same outfit twice’ crisis. Is sharing caring? Girl Meets Dress believe their service will satisfy our insatiable appetite for fashion but how can it compete with the likes of Boohoo and ASOS offering next-day delivery to outright buy cheap clothes.

Who’s going to take responsibility? Is it up to retailers, factories, consumers or the government to address the facts and begin a new fashion trend.”

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