Is Fashion Rental The Future of Fashion?

It seems like a no brainer, who wouldn't want to wear their favourite luxury brand for a fraction of the price? We most definitely will and have done in the past.

Think about it, what is that one fashion item that you absolutely LOVE but just don't currently have the budget for? This item has been on your wish-list for some time now in the hopes of you one day purchasing. Well imagine it's yours (for a limited time) - that is fashion rental.

How does it work?

Fashion Rental is a relatively new and emerging concept in the UK, with companies such as HURR, Adaya House and Rotaro offering the service. However in the US fashion rental has been something widely known for a while. Revolutionary platform "Rent The Runway" was founded in 2009, offering customers fashion rental from designer brands and operating both online and in-stores. They allowed customers to rent designer pieces one-off or sign up for a monthly subscription service.

In order to rent a fashion item, customers create an account, verify their ID and request to borrow the item by selecting the dates needed. Payment is then taken and the item sent to them. It's really quite simple.

Selfridges recently introduced rental company HURR to its London, Oxford Street store - making them one of the very few stores allowing customers to try on the designer items before renting. Victoria Prew, founder of the company said in a recent interview that “It’s a way to change-up your style. It’s also a great chance to experiment with different brands – if you haven’t tried a brand before, perhaps you’ve seen it on Instagram, but haven’t actually bought into it yet, why not rent it first?”.

HURR rental shop, Selfridges London, 2021

How does it impact the fashion industry?

Social media has played a big part in consumers' wardrobes, with many more wanting to own luxury brands despite not being able to afford it. Having the option of renting could potentially lead to fewer people wanting to actually buy.

Brands wanting to offer rental services need to consider that sales for full-price items may decline, unless they limit the pieces they allow to be rented and keep the more exclusive items for purchase only. This may also push fashion designers into creating more limited collections, reducing production units and making their brands more sustainable (we are here for it)!

The buying habits of fast fashion consumers has a detrimental effect on the environment, with the fashion industry being on of the world's biggest polluters. Climate change activist, 1 Million Women, reported that if everyone in the UK didn't buy new clothes 'for one day, the emissions saved would be equivalent to driving a car around the world 8,640 times'.

The concept of renting clothes is a business model that not only benefits companies and consumers but also the world by reducing waste production.

Image by Rent The Runway

Another reason why we love the idea of fashion rental is we no longer have to use the excuse “I’ll dress better when I’m rich”. We can be our most stylist selves now, without breaking the bank. Fashion rental has come to the rescue, combatting classism. You don’t have to own that £2000 Alexander McQueen dress, you can rent it for £180 and still feel like you are siting front row at Paris Paris Fashion Week amongst the upper-echelon.

The Future of Fashion Rental

The rental industry is projected to grow to a value of £269 billion by 2025, according to Forbes. Within the next few years we will have to see how it continues to shape consumer buying behaviour but for now, speaking from experience, it is most definitely a fashion enthusiast's must have.

Earlier this year we sat down with Bukiie Smart, the founder of Adaya House, a UK based fashion rental company. She gave us some insight into fashion rental and the reasons why she started her company. Check out our TFB Talks here.