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With party season in full swing, dress rental has never been so hot. Why? Because it’s a great way to practice sustainable fashion, as well as saving money – especially if you tend to buy a dress for a special occasion without wearing it again.
You’d be surprised to know how much we spend on clothes every month – which contributes to the estimated £140 million of clothing that ends up in landfill in the UK (Oxfam estimates this to be 13m items a week).
The pandemic has also made us reconsider our lifestyle choices. Shika, founder of luxury rental site FRONT ROW, says, ‘It’s important for us to ask ourselves some hard questions before shopping, am I going to wear this again? If not, then would it be better to rent it or can I resell it? The future is no longer in front of us. It’s circular.’
Luckily, as dress rental has increased in popularity, so has the clothing selection. Sites like HURR, where I actually rent out my own wardrobe, are editor-curated for the best dress edit, with of-the-moment brands such as RIXO, Ganni, STAUD and more. You can for example borrow a Rixo dress for a week for around £50 instead of buying it new for £200+.
Other sites allow you to borrow that designer handbag you’ve always wanted but can’t quite justify buying. Whichever item you’re after, here are the best dress rental sites to pick from. And if you want to try on items in an IRL shop, try these two pop-ups, which have launched for party season.
Dress rental stores
The By Rotation Holiday Pop-up: Stylishly designed by Studio Arva, the By Rotation pop-up gives you the opportunity to discover the specially curated edits from the platform’s community’s wardrobes, which include coveted brands such as Molby The Label, Jakke & Silvia Astore. There is also a charity collection featuring second-hand gems from Shelter, with all rental proceeds from the edit being donated to help tackle homelessness in the UK. Find it until the end of January at 98 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QA.
HURR Concept Store: Rental marketplace HURR is offering you the opportunity to rent outfits for one night only, for your Christmas parties, before returning them the next day so they can be dry-cleaned. Pop into the store and try on its bestselling (or renting?) pieces, from maxi dresses to mini skirts, by popular designers including Sleeper, Rixo, Aje, Needle & Thread, Jacquemus and more. You can also shop sustainable gifts and get pampered or enjoy workshops. The store will be open until 24th December at 114 King’s Road, London.
The best dress rental sites:
About: This peer-to-peer dress rental service (you can also hire accessories and bags) has its finger on the fashion pulse, ensuring you get the latest trends delivered to your doorstep, but where it really hits the mark is the technology it uses. Founders Victoria and Matthew recognise the urgency of a dressing crisis, so they’ve served up a real-time ID verification, geo-tagging and AI-powered fashion stylists to ensure HURR is the most secure and trusted way to share your wardrobe.
Brands: Rixo, Sleeper, Ganni, Victoria Beckham, STAUD, Dior, Rejina Pyo and more.
How it works: This is a peer to peer service, so lenders are responsible for posting their own clothes, unless you choose to use HURR’s concierge service, which does it all for you, but you’ll get a lower commission. Plus you need to get approved before you start lending or renting, ensuring a legit service for everyone.
If you’re renting, you can search by category (dresses, accessories etc), occasion (brunch, out out etc) or designer. Then narrow down your search by date, size. HURR also has a permanent space in Selfridges, should you want to try out the items in store.
How much? It depends on the item, but usually around 20% of the RRP, and the shortest rental is for 7 days. For both renters and lenders, HURR takes a 15% commission. Try it now at the HURR Collective.
About: Ensuring style and sustainability is inclusive and relatable, the brand prides itself on its research and response to customer feedback. Owning all the product available for rental – pieces are selected six months ahead from brand look books and bought at wholesale, using data-backed processes to determine popular pieces.
Brands: Cult Aussie brands such as Winona, Bardot & Talulah and influencer favourite Spanish brand, Panambi as well as consumer favourites including Ghost, Whistles, French Connection, Rixo, Bec & Bridge and ASOS.
How it works: A different model to other fashion rental platforms, Hirestreet works on a consignment basis with no subscription, to make rental accessible to all. With rental costs starting from £7 for four days, there are four time slots available for flexibility (4, 8, 12, & 16 day slots) and cleaning/repairs are covered in the cost.
How much? £7 for four days. Try it now.
3. FRONT ROW
About: The platform launched in 2016 and now stocks hundreds of items from over 50 international luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel, many of which are not available from other rental platforms in the U.K. They also provide access to new season and cult fashion pieces hot off the runway.
Brands: As well as global high end designers like Jacquemus, Chanel, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Burberry, they also have a great collection of Indian evening wear from some of the best Indian designers such as Manish Arora.
How it works: Choose a style, book an appointment at the Mayfair showroom or online to ‘try it on’ and rent it out for 5 or 5 days. Once you’re done wearing it, use the prepaid label to return it via UPS collection or drop-off.
How much? The rental price is between 10 – 25% of the retail price. The site charges a flat rate of £15 for delivery and also take a £50 block until the item is returned. The £50 is a requirement from insurers and will be released when the item is returned back in its original condition. Try it now.
About: The dress rental subscription platform works directly with brands on a wholesale basis with current and past season stock, they are not peer to peer. They positioned their subscription model purposefully because they want to support the industry and its designers, allowing them to gain value from the ongoing longevity of a garments life cycle.
Brands: Sustainable leaders like Rejina Pyo, Mother of Pearl, Maggie Marilyn, Stine Goya, Shrimps etc.
How it works: This is a monthly rental service, so you can get the most wear out of your chosen items as you’d like. You return them at the end of the month and choose something for the following one.
How much? £69 per month for two items (total items worth on average £500), £99 per month for four items (total items worth on average £1000). Try it now.
About: Backed by a team of industry insiders and co-founded by former WGSN trend forecaster, Georgie Hyatt and partner Charlie Knowles created ROTARO from the belief that the future of fashion is to buy good basics and rent good fun. ROTARO renters can find their favourite styles from contemporary luxury designers to refresh their wardrobe or as a platform to discover new brands.
Brands: Rixo, Ganni, Reformation, Cult Gaia, Vampires Wife, Zimmerman, Jacquemus, Cecilie Bahnsen and Stine Goya, offering a variety of sizes (UK6 – UK16) and styles that strive to be body inclusive and positive.
How it works: Find your style, then select how long you want to rent it out for, Rotaro offers next day delivery.
How much? You can rent dresses from as little as £15 on Rotaro.
7. ENDLESS WARDROBE
About: Endless Wardrobe works differently to peer-to-peer sites so rather than anyone being able to list their wardrobe, they buy the garments direct from partner brands, like De La Vali and Alexa Chung. There’s also a new feature that lets customers shop each style in three ways; rent, buy new and buy good as new.
Brands: Alexa Chung, De La Vali, Free People, Whistles and more. This is great for premium high-street rentals.
How it works: As the range is curated by the brand, there are multiple sizes in almost all items, and as they own the stock, they control all the logistics. Customers can book their rental up to three months in advance right up until the day before. They can choose from a 4, 10 or 16-day rental period, with a slight price increase for longer rental periods – holidays for example. Price includes delivery and dry-cleaning. Customers can order an extra size or style and return this unworn for a refund.
How much? Around 10-20% of the retail price. See more at Endless Wardrobe.
8. BY ROTATION
About: Founded by expat investment banker Eshita Kabra-Davies, By Rotation is a dress rental platform based on inclusivity, with the aim to democratise quality fashion and make it accessible to all. It’s all controlled by the community rather than the other way round making it truly peer-to-peer. It also does not buy any inventory – so it is entirely sustainable.
Brands: Dior, Jacquemus, Vetements, Chanel, Zimmermann and more.
How it works:Download the free app and start browsing, there is no waiting list. The item can either be exchanged in person, via Royal Mail Tracked or via delivery partner Peyk. The lender is in charge of cleaning and cleaning solutions are offered by partner Clothes Doctor.
How much? Around 5% of the retail price. The minimum rental period for any clothing or item can be as low as 1 day, and the app charges a 15% commission.Download the ByRotation app.
9. MY WARDROBE HQ
About: My Wardrobe HQ is a member’s only dress rental online platform, with a focus on sustainable fashion and making it possible for anyone to achieve an a-list wardrobe. Some items have been supplied by celebrities such as Poppy Delevingne, Arizona Muse, Roxie Nafousi and Olivia Buckingham.
Brands: Henry Holland, Alice Temperley, Vilshenko, Vivienne Westwood, Chinti & Parker, Gucci and more.
How it works: Customers sign up to a subscription service for just £9.99 a month and in return are given a bespoke service to fulfill all their high-end dressing requirements. Subscription also includes a home visit from a MWHQ stylist to discuss plans for what they want to achieve being a member of this exclusive fashion club. You choose an item to rent and it’s with you from our wardrobe warehouse within two hours in London.
How much? £9.99 a month subscription, plus rental fees. As a rule of thumb, past-season items are listed at 10% of their RRP, while current season items are priced at between 10-30%. Sale prices are set by the owner and will vary. Rent at My Wardrobe HQ.
10. GIRL MEETS DRESS
About: One of the original dress rental services, Girl Meets Dress stocks over 200 designers and 4,000 dresses, so you’re pretty much sorted for any occasion.
Brands: A mix of high street and designer brands such as Ghost, Needle & Thread, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and more.
How it works: You can rent up to three months in advance and as little as three days before your event, though the earlier you search, the more choice you’ll have. Anyone can rent on the site, and you simply need to return the dress via the post office once you’re done.
How much? Rent at Girl Meets Dress. You can hire dresses for 2 or 7 nights at a time, with prices starting from £19. If you’re a frequent renter, there is a £99 per month membership which lets you borrow three dresses at a time, free delivery and dry cleaning and extra discounts.
Designer bag rental
About: COCOON is a London-based monthly subscription service for lovers of designer handbags.
Brands: From vintage to new season, there are style from all the biggest designers, from Fendi to Vuitton, Chanel to Bottega.
How it works: For a £99 monthly membership you can choose a bag from the collection of the most sought-after new season, pre-owned and limited-edition styles.
How much? £99 a month. Try it now on COCOON.