After being on hold for the past 12 months, wedding season is finally (almost) upon us. From June 21st, we’ll be dressing up, daytime drinking and getting down on the dance floor, and we can’t wait. Seriously, if our excitement levels are anything to go by, we can only imagine how the brides are feeling.
Speaking of dressing up, we’re chomping at the bit to throw on a ridiculously fancy number (dress, jumpsuit, two-piece – oh, the choices!) and weirdly looking forward to rediscovering our heels. Yep, even the ones that hurt. This year though, we’ll be approaching wedding guest dressing a little differently.
Falling down an Insta hole recently, a post by fashion rental site Rotaro stopped us mid-scroll. It read: “If everyone wears a pre-loved outfit to a wedding this year, the carbon emissions saved will be the equivalent of taking 56 million cars off the road for a day.*” We’ll just let that sink in.
The concept of renting your wardrobe has been big in the US for a while now, but only really started to take off here in the last year. Now, with social lives and special occasions back on the agenda, 2021 looks set to be the year of the rental. Why? First, the desire for guilt-free fashion is ever growing. We know that buying throwaway one-wear wonders (like fancy wedding outfits) contributes to the eye-watering greenhouse gas emissions produced by the fashion industry – more than international flights and shipping combined, FYI. Secondly, coronavirus has effected everything from our disposable income to how we spend our time. A social calendar devoid of anything but daily walks has made us re-evaluate what we actually want from our wardrobes, and who doesn’t want to spend a day feeling amazing in a £300 Rixo dress just for under £50?
Here’s everything you need to know about the fashion rental sites making waves right now, from how they work to the dreamy looks on offer…
*Facts via @TheUselessProject
The UK’s first peer-to-peer rental site, HURR gives members the chance to rent and lend their wardrobes. Alongside a lot of influencers, Rochelle Humes and Holly Willoughby are big fans, and you can shop the wardrobes of certain #HURRgirls including Louise Thompson, Penny Goldstone and India Sehmi of @TheIndiaEdit. The sign-up process is pretty straightforward and, once verified, you can start listing your wardrobe to lend, or searching for “the one” to wear. Sizing is inclusive (up to 32) and there are almost too many designers to mention. We love the Edits section – carefully curated wardrobe suggestions for everything from Staycations and Maternity to Wedding Guest which has pieces from The Vampire’s Wife, Needle and Thread and Erdem to name a few. Prices vary, but you can rent a £1000 Vampire’s Wife number for £93, and each piece is available to rent for 4, 8, 10 or 20 days – the longer you rent, the cheaper the fee. Lenders are responsible for dry cleaning items, whilst renters must return items in accordance with HURR’s T&Cs. For extra peace of mind, HURR offer a Damage Protection add-on.
The one all the cool girls love, Rotaro’s carefully curated designer roll call is packed with of-the-moment contemporary names like Rixo, Ganni, Reformation, Cult Gaia, Cecilie Bahnsen and Stine Goya. Items cost between £15 for a 4-day loan and £80 for a 12-day period, with the option to extend, and arrive via carbon-neutral delivery. If you’re unsure about sizing, Rotaro offers a home try-on service, where you can order more than one size and return the one you don’t wear – just make sure the ribbon is still attached and you’ll receive a refund or store credit. As if Rotaro’s rental options weren’t exciting enough, there’s also a Resale section where you can give pre-loved styles a new home for a bargain price, and the brand has partnered with social enterprise Ecologi to plant trees and offset carbon, planting a tree for each rental and a thicket for each new brand partnered with.
The brainchild of two friends with a shared mission to reduce waste and reignite your love of clothes guilt-free, weekly drops from brands like Shrimps, Stine Goya and Mother of Pearl make Onloan feel every bit as fresh as your favourite ‘New In’ section. Choose from two membership options: £69 for two items worth around £500, or £99 for four items worth about £1000. Sign up, complete a quick style survey and you’ll get a curated edit of clothes to choose from. If something doesn’t fit – or suit – don’t worry; Onloan offers free exchanges within 24 hours, so you can easily avoid a ‘nothing to wear’ disaster. Like with Rotaro, Onloan has a preloved section where you can shop covetable brands with up to 80% off.
Boasting over 500 luxe brands on it’s roster, My Wardrobe HQ lets you buy, sell and rent designer items. Intead of buying stock, they have curated a selection of 3000 (and counting) items from individual’s wardrobes – we’re talking the likes of Poppy Delevigne, Olivia Buckingham and Roxie Nafousi – and also from exclusive brand partners. Rent items from Zimmerman, Roksanda, Gucci and more for 4-14 days with prices starting from just £4 per day. If you can’t bear the be parted from your rental, drop them an email to see if you can buy it. The resale prices are equally affordable – we spied a £2400 Christopher Kane dress available to buy for just £120. My Wardrobe HQ also offers a price match promise, so if you see the same item for rent cheaper elsewhere, they’ll refund the difference or credit £20 to your account.
Another peer-to-peer platform with no subscription fee and no waiting list, By Rotation’s user-friendly app makes lending and renting a breeze – you can search by location and rent pieces in your vicinity. Laura Whitmore has been cleverly “rotating” outfits from the site throughout her pregnancy and you’ll find everything from Daily Sleeper’s cult feather-trimmed PJ sets to Jacquemus and Ghost dresses. The cost depends on the value of the item, and how long you want to rent it for. Prices start from £3 a day and the recommended daily rental price is between 3-5% of the retail price. Furthering their eco-credentials, By Rotation has teamed up with the Clothes Doctor to offer eco-friendly solutions and repairs.