A beginner’s guide to rental fashion

Photo credit: Christian Vierig - Getty Images

Photo credit: Christian Vierig – Getty Images

There is absolutely no doubt that rental fashion is on the rise. As we all become painfully more aware of the impact that the production of clothing is having on our planet, many of us are trying to shop less, buy better and, on some occasions, turn to rental, rather than always buying something new.

So many great rental platforms have emerged in recent years, and fashion houses are also getting in on the action by investing in the idea. However, if you have never rented a piece of clothing, the process can definitely be daunting.

Here, we round up all the tips and tricks you need to know before you embrace the rental-fashion world, whether you are renting something for yourself, or lending out your own wardrobe.

We speak to Victoria Prew, founder and CEO of rental-fashion platform Hurr, to give clarity on some of the biggest queries a new renter may face.

How do I get started?

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the Hurr platform and iOS app – begin wish-listing the items you like, with over 10,000+ listings there truly is something for everyone. The rental process itself is incredibly straightforward, you simply choose the pieces you’d like to rent, select a delivery date and you’ll be connected to the lender via our in-platform messaging. Rentals start from as low as £16, so I would say start with some ‘safer’ pieces that you know you’ll love, or brands you’ve worn before, then you can build up to more daring rentals, pushing yourself out of your style comfort zone a bit more.

How long before an event should I borrow something?

You can select a delivery date of your choice, but we would recommend getting a day or two before you need, this gives you plenty of time to try it on and avoid any last-minute stress. If you are tight for time or worried about fit, we have a permanent pop-up in Selfridges so you can try on as many pieces as you’d like, and take them away with you on the day.

If you are outside of London though, we offer our 100 per cent Fit Policy, meaning if your chosen piece doesn’t fit you can return next day, and receive a part-money, part-credit refund to rent something else.

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot - Getty Images

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot – Getty Images

How do I get the most out of fashion rental?

The more you use rental, the more it becomes part of your every day life. Many of our customers aren’t renting for high-days and holidays, but renting for the everyday – date nights, job interviews, picnics in the park.

As a peer-to-peer marketplace, you can also list your own wardrobe. We’re not saying ‘never buy new’, we’re saying ‘buy less and buy better’, knowing that you can shop responsibly, wear it, then put it on the platform. After three rentals you’ve made your money back. Ultimately, we want to inspire our community to be both renters and lenders.

How do I choose something that will suit me?

If you are a first-time renter, I think it’s a good idea to look at brands you already know and trust. You know the sizing, you know how they fit, you know what to expect. But also have a stalk on Instagram, we have an incredible community of people who love styling their rentals differently – so take inspiration from someone with a similar shape to you and hunt it down on site.

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot - Getty Images

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot – Getty Images

What happens if I ruin or lose an item I’ve rented?

As a renter, you are expected to treat rented items as if they are your own, but obviously we understand that accidents can happen. We have created our £5 Damage Protection add-on, this helps give you peace of mind and covers any bigger damage or stains should you have a run in with a spilt drink.

How do you become a successful lender yourself?

It takes under 60 seconds to list an item. You simply take photos; upload them; and wait for the rentals to roll in. We help with the returns and dry-cleaning process for our lenders to, again to make it as easy as possible.

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot - Getty Images

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot – Getty Images

What are the biggest reasons people rent?

I think rental is naturally associated with wedding-guest dressing, which is certainly a huge category, but what’s been really interesting over the past few months is actually the increase in brides renting, not just the guests. Lockdown has caused so much disruption, meaning brides have sometimes had just weeks to turn around a wedding – so we do have lots of brides coming to us in a last minute panic. We also now have a dedicated bridal section in our Selfridges’ pop-up which has been incredibly popular. Renting your wedding dress is the future.

Does fashion rental help to solve some of the problems around customers wanting newness?

Without a doubt. In the UK, customers spend £2.7 billion on outfits which they are wearing just once. Social media has somehow created this myth that if you’ve had a picture in it, you can’t wear it again, which means we are just wasting an obscene amount of clothing. Rental enables consumers to still have that newness, but without contributing to unnecessary consumption.

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