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The Rise of Fashion Rental

Updated: Feb 18

Published by The Guardian. Written by Scarlett Conlon.

Owning clothes is so last year. Rental platforms have been the industry’s 2020 success story.


Image by The Guardian, Selfridges and rental platform Hurr


Cast your mind back to this time last year, pre-pandemic, when a £39.99 polka-dot dress from Zara was the only viral fashion phenomenon getting all the headlines. In retrospect, it’s fair to say that its arrival, and swift departure from the shop floor, was probably when must-have-but-will-probably-wear-once culture reached its divisive peak; lauded by fast fashion conglomerates, lambasted by the eco-conscious.

“The environmental benefits of a circular rental model – compared to wear once consumption – are, of course, the driving factor behind many brands chasing the rental market.

Was it really necessary for everyone to own the same dress, asked the critics. What pleasure lies in wearing exactly the same thing as at least three other women in the office? Why don’t people just buy it and, you know, share it?


Step forward, fashion rental companies. Having already been widely adopted in the US, thanks to the pioneering platform Rent the Runway, until early last year renting clothes was a concept mainly reserved for special occasions here in the UK. Yet several style and tech-savvy entrepreneurs who had spotted its potential and brought it to UK shores were starting to gain traction.


Read the full article from The Guardian.