How rental fashion became big business ‘It’s more sustainable – and I still get to wear something new every weekend’

Renting clothes has been a relatively novel fashion experience until recently, as we have become used to staying in strangers' homes via Airbnb, borrowing books via Kindle, and using pay-as-you-drive car-sharing clubs such as Zipcar.

rental fashion​​

A number of fashion brands and retailers are moving to make clothing rental a more viable option for everyday customers. H&M has a rental section in its Regent Street shop in London, while M&S has a rental section on Hirestreet. Customers of LK Bennett, John Lewis, and Jigsaw can now borrow instead of buy.

A chainmail fashion dress from Paco Rabanne that retails for £2,500 can be rented for four days for $229. You can borrow the bags for just over twenty dollars a day instead of buying them.

At the Earthshot prize in Boston, the Duke of Cambridge wore a rental dress. The photograph was taken by Kirsty O'Connor.

The more circular approach to fashion is being embraced by celebrities. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a lime green Solace dress to the Earthshot Prize in Boston, which she rented from the platform Hurr for £74 instead of buying it. Former Number 10 resident Carrie Johnson is also a fan of rental clothing. Her entire G7 wardrobe was leased while she wore her wedding gown for £45 a day, according to reports.

The biggest players in the UK fashion rental market have focused on providing an edit of high-end labels and what the fashion industry likes to call "sweet-spot brands". If you have been to a wedding in the last year, at least one guest will have been wearing a silky printed dress from this group. The rental price is 10% of the RRP. A small damage protection fee can be added to cover broken zips or wine spills. Rents on the high-street start at as little as $7 a day.

The UK is fond of shopping for clothes. According to Wrap, one in eight people buy a new item of clothing each week, while the rest of the population has their clothes in their closets. We own a quarter of the clothes we own.

Gen Z, which is generally passionate about the environment and workers' rights but still wants to have new looks to show off on social media, has driven the rental market for a long time. With the cost of living crisis getting worse, consumers are starting to feel pressured to choose between price and sustainable living.


The fashion rental industry is proving to be very important in the year 2022. By the end of the year, the UK rental apparel market is expected to be worth over a hundred million dollars, with growth of over six hundred million dollars in the next two years.

The high street wants to be a part of the action. Cara, a 30-year-old finance worker from London, says she likes to rent high-street brands. I could buy a dress for less than the cost of renting one. I save money by renting high-street brands.

There are many ways in which rental works. Peer-to-peer lending involves people borrowing clothes from one another. The platform charges the lender commission.

White label is a service that is becoming more popular. When a retailer uses a rental platform to carry out all the logistical work, it makes it appear as if the customer is renting it directly from its site. It is an easy way to get people to visit your site. They can use the site of a brand they already know about to browse.

Victoria Prew is the CEO of Hurr. Hurr does all the complex bits for more than 130 brands, including Hugo Boss, thanks to a peer-to-peer community and a large number of brands. She says that they are up 70% in revenue.

My wardrobe HQ rents clothing. My wardrobe headquarters.

With slick branding and glamorous advertising campaigns, these platforms personify the Gen Z customer to whom they hope to appeal. It feels like you are in a high-end store.

Hirestreet is a high street champion that takes a more humble approach. There was a gap in the market for a lower-priced rental option and that's what inspired her to start the business. British high-street favorites include French Connection and River Island. There is a range of sizes ranging from a UK 4 to a UK32.


West says that they aren't the people to come to when you have a lot of money. Any two dresses for $30 is our most popular offer right now. Customers told us that the amount they would spend in a store such as H&M to get a Christmas party look was the reason we were doing that offer.

Hirestreet is popular due to the cost of living. More than 1.5 million people have used it. Users are able to rent pieces from four to 30 days. Over the last 10 months, the people who joined have rented 10 times each.

West says that people might have allocated 5% of their disposable income to fashion in the past, but now they need an additional 3% for essentials. They still have the same number of events to attend, but they have less money to spend. Whatever behavior they have towards being sustainable will be challenged.

While most platforms focus on clothes for events such as parties and weddings, for its latest Hirestreet offering, M&S has focused on casualwear with the launch of six capsule collections. For five days, the price is up to £59 and for 30 days, it's up to £59.

The photograph is by rotation.

According to Richard Price, managing director of clothing and home at M&S, a third of their customers are interested in renting for a weekend away.

M&S wants to show how staple items can be used to style up to 10 separate outfits, perfect for making budgets go further. The City Knits capsule, which includes wide-legged jersey trousers, a fleece gilet and a Breton striped jumper, is booked out in most sizes until January.

Cara has started renting staple items, such as T-shirts. I have to think more carefully about every purchase I make. Buying basics adds up and they wouldn't last me past the winter season. Having something new to wear every weekend is what I get from renting, it's more sustainable.

The reality of sustainable fashion isn't easy to gauge. Renting is a way to avoid buying new, but it also requires an endless cycle of packaging, transport, and cleaning.


Hurr is a certified B Corporation, which means it meets verified standards for its social and environmental performance. An exclusive partnership with Oxwash, a chemical-free dry cleaner, is one of the ways it is trying to be sustainable. This only relates to Hurr's items.

It is more complicated when it comes to claims of reducing the number of clothes in the fashion cycle because the lender takes care of the garment itself. Top lenders make up to $20k a year and are buying items to rent out. Is renting a side hustle? The lines don't always line up.

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A beauty worker from London made £1,000 in a week and is hoping to maintain this in the lead-up to the Christmas season. She says she focuses on dresses with feathers and pieces that you will wear once. The Vampire's Wife is one of her top-performing brands. She says it is hard for most people to justify the retail price of a house.

West believes that the biggest impact rental can have is by changing consumer behavior, especially the "buy once, wear once" mentality.

The majority of the carbon footprint of an item is in the production phase. She says that by renting an item you have the chance to split the production into smaller pieces.

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Retailers are getting a huge opportunity in a tough economy. M&S is a brand that Cara wouldn't have considered renting its clothes from. She changed her mind because of a pair of leather trousers that were hired for just $32 instead of the original price of £179. Hirestreet allows you to rent multiple sizes and any unused items will earn you credit for future rentals.

Oasis closed all of its stores in 2020 after administrators couldn't find a rescue deal. The company's stock has been sold. It was one of the most popular brands on Hirestreet.

According to West, a lot of customers search by occasion. They get an edit of about 50 recommended garments. They're not looking at a label. They might not have chosen to go to that brand's website so we can serve as the perfect introduction to a brand.

Renting could be a way of future-proofing high street labels in a volatile market. It may be the solution the industry has been looking for with many brands booked out across the various sites for weeks at a time. Time and social media tags will tell.

You can rent designer pieces for up to fourteen days. Two to four pieces are offered each month in a subscription model.

By changing the rotation.

You can browse the wardrobes of more than 200,000 users, including influential people. Ask for styling tips or follow your favourite ones.

It is for the creators.

Both maternity and non-maternity brands can be rented. There are a lot of things that have been thought of.

The person is Baukjen.

A London-based brand makes clothes in EU factories. Think of cotton jeans and knitwear made from recycled materials. You can rent pieces for up to two weeks.

Keywords: rental, books via Kindle, Zipcar to nip, nip to Ikea