Want a chic new look for a special occasion but not keen on the environmental impact buying new clothes brings? Perhaps high-end clothes rental services could be the answer. Here, we round up the best services guaranteed to make you dazzle and improve your green credentials.
Fast fashion are dirty words nowadays. Where once we bought new outfits with impunity, today it’s all about buying less and crucially making more considered choices about where and who we buy from.
For those who love a new look, charity shops, vintage stalls and swap meets where fashionistas trade their old threads, offer a swift solution: for a fraction of the price of an off-the-peg outfit, you can support a worthwhile cause by picking up some preloved and potentially one-off pieces. And then there’s the environmental brownie points too; the reduction in waste and resourcefulness that repurposing old items brings.
Preloved and potentially one-off pieces
But that’s not the only way. With the sharing economy becoming increasingly mainstream, hiring clothes provides a stylish solution to reducing some of the waste associated with fast fashion. Indeed, recently the market for rental clothes in the UK alone was said to be worth nearly £1bn.
Not only does it cut down on wardrobe space, it provides the opportunity to try new looks from aspirational brands at a snip of the price of the full-priced product. Already a trend in the US and more and more so in China after social influencer Jiang Chacha fronted rental platform YCloset’s campaign to drive subscriber uptake, hiring clothes offers a refreshed wardrobe in a greener way.
If you want a silk wrap dress for an interview, there’ll be a site for it. A maxi dress for a summer wedding? It can be arranged. And even if you need a new casual look, more and more platforms are branching out into everyday wear.
So before you head to the high street, why not try one of these brands. Here, we look at four of the best brands offering a sustainable fashion fix.
Nothing to wear
Founded by Cyrine Allani Joaristi, Nothing to wear is passionate about sustainable fashion. Aghast with the disposable nature of fashion, Cyrine, who used to work for Christian Dior Couture, set up the designer rental service as an alternative to buying an outfit for a one-off occasion never to be worn again.
The result is her hiring service in which chic pieces can be loaned for four or eight days, giving just enough time to be worn and enjoyed at weddings, parties and gatherings.
Look out or Chanel classics, as well as pieces by Miu Miu and Christian Lacroix, as well as a whole host of other designers. You can even rent bridal gowns, as well as the usual evening dresses and bags. And for those with a bulging wardrobe full of outfits that no longer see the light of day, you can have your wardrobe assessed and start earning money loaning out your pieces on the site. The company will then pay the renter a percentage of the price of the outfit every time it is rented out. A win all round.
A London-only service, Front Row is as high-end as it gets. Come here for pieces by up-and-coming designers before everyone starts coveting their threads or hunt out timeless looks from established houses including Chanel, Fendi, Jenny Packham and Roland Mouret. As well as picking out a capsule holiday wardrobe, you can also browse trending outfits and rent the site’s most popular items.
Finding a perfect pair of jeans can feel like a Herculean task at times but MUD Jeans could just win over eco-conscious fashionistas with their innovative leasing initiative.
Made from virgin organic cotton and the recycled cotton from old jeans, the company rent out their jeans for a one-off €29 fee, plus €7.50 a month for 12 months. Once the year is up, you can decide whether to keep the jeans or to trade them in for a new pair - in which case your previous pair will be repaired or recycled.
Another bonus is that MUD are part of the Fair Wear Foundation which seek to treat garment workers fairly and improve working standards. The company are transparent about their ambition to build on and better the conditions for the people who work on their products and encourage shoppers to learn more about the story behind their denims.
Girl Meets Dress
A relative old-timer on the renting block, Girl Meets Dress was founded a decade ago by former Hermes publicist Anna Bance, who saw a gap in the market for a clothes hire service. Once on the site, take your pick from Victoria Beckham dresses, Alexander McQueen styles and Stella McCartney classics and then choose your subscription package.
Words: Keeley Bolger