A Burberry gown for £60? A Prada bag for £100? It sounds too good to be true however – due to the booming style rental market – designer items are now not reserved for these with a six-figure wage.
Consultants have dubbed it the “rental revolution”, with GlobalData forecasting that the UK rental attire market will attain a worth of £2.3bn by 2029. Within the UK, the largest gamers are the web site Hurr and the app By Rotation. Each supply peer-to-peer lending, the place individuals borrow garments straight from each other, often for a minimal interval of three days.
Since launching in 2019, By Rotation has amassed greater than 330,000 customers and at the moment lists greater than 68,000 gadgets, whereas Hurr options over 1,600 designer manufacturers. The platform fees the lender fee, sometimes 10-15%, to host their wardrobe. The lender additionally arranges the supply and cleans each bit in between loans. On high of a base charge, the renter pays for the return postage, and each signal an settlement spanning the whole lot from late penalty fees to wreck charges.
As the recognition of renting continues to develop, many lenders are shopping for particularly to hire, scouring designer gross sales for items that they know will enchantment and, crucially, earn them a return on their funding. For some, it’s merely a facet hustle; for others it has turn into a full-time job.
Jess Templeton, 35, advertising and marketing, Buckinghamshire
The rationale I hire my wardrobe is to assist save for fertility help after my restoration from cervical most cancers in 2020. Because of my style facet hustle, our journey to turning into dad and mom goes to occur prior to we thought.
The primary piece I listed on the rental platform Hurr was one in all my favorite gadgets from my wardrobe: a inexperienced gown with bell sleeves from the French model Ba&sh. After I wore it myself, ladies would come as much as me within the toilet to inform me they beloved it, so I knew that it had legs for rental. It price me £191 to purchase and I’ve revamped £1,000 from renting it out.
It gave me the boldness to begin shopping for items particularly to hire. I’m now one in all Hurr’s high lenders, making on common £1,000 a month, and much more through the summer season season when there are occasions, akin to weddings.
I solely purchase issues I’d truly put on – the Y2K pattern is big on rental platforms however I’m not interested by it – and I solely purchase issues in my dimension. Which means if nobody needed to hire it out, I might nonetheless put on it. In Might, I purchased a Cult Gaia gown costing £338 and have already made a return on funding of 145%.
My newest purchase is a Loewe maxidress with a pink anthurium print. I first noticed it on the runway, then Rihanna carried out within the model on the Tremendous Bowl, so it’s an iconic piece – that’s actually engaging to renters. It reveals what’s occurring in style. It retails for £895 however I discovered it on sale in Selfridges for £537. Hours after I listed it, I had my first reserving.
I’ve a spreadsheet to maintain observe of the whole lot. I work full-time, so I take advantage of a dry cleansing firm who come to my doorstep – by now, I do know the drivers by identify. Most mornings I’ll give them a cup of tea and a biscuit, and have a chat.
Nicola Chote, 35, portfolio supervisor, Chingford
After I obtained married final August, I checked out my marriage ceremony gown and thought it was such a disgrace that it was going to sit down in a mud bag in the back of my wardrobe.
Two months later, I listed it on the rental platform By Rotation. A few weeks after that, I used to be handing it over to my first shopper. I used to be petrified and utterly questioning myself about what I had executed. Though it’s only a piece of clothes, it holds reminiscences of such a special occasion. However I’ve discovered that you simply’ve simply obtained to think about individuals.
The dress is by the French-Israeli designer Liz Martinez. I bought it from a bridal boutique in north London for £5,250 and I loan it out for £125 a day for a minimum of three days. Postage is about £30 and dry cleaning is £60, then the platform takes a cut. The final amount isn’t as much as you think it would be but it’s still a nice supplementary income.
Between now and autumn, it will be rented at least once a month. Once someone has messaged me about it, we start to build a rapport. I send them more pictures and chat about the type of wedding they are planning. Lots of brides want to come and try it on first. I completely understand that.
I bought the dress in 2020 when I had been planning to get married in Australia. Then the pandemic hit and my partner and I ended up getting married in London instead. I noticed that the prices for flowers and food have all risen, so I like the idea that I can make a beautiful, high-quality dress accessible to those who might now be on a more constrained budget.
Lydia Epangué, 35, project manager, Birmingham
I was buying dresses that I never wore, so they would just sit in my wardrobe. The first piece I listed for rent was a puff-sleeved green dress from the Danish brand Rotate. Straight away, it was a huge hit. It’s very eye-catching and people love the colour. I bought it for £290 and, to rent it, I charge £10 a day for a minimum of three days. Then I add £15 for dry-cleaning and £10 for the postage. The rental platform takes a cut, but even after that, it’s worth it. I bought a couple of discounted Aje dresses recently – I’ve already had 10 bookings for them, so I’ll make about £500 straight away.
Of course, clothes get damaged. It’s one of the biggest downsides to renting. The worst was when the Rotate dress came back with a huge bleach stain across the front of it. Luckily, I have an amazing seamstress who was able to create a pleat to hide it. The renter claimed she didn’t cause it and we eventually came to an agreement where we split the cost of the repair.
I always tell people: if you are really precious about a certain piece then don’t rent it out. I don’t lend anything with sequins or clothes made from a delicate fabric and when I shop for pieces to lend out, I think about how durable they are. They are going to be worn multiple times, by multiple people, and cleaned a lot. Some fabrics lose their colour quickly due to all the washing.
I work full-time and have two kids. When I first started lending, I thought I would use the extra money to treat myself but, with bills continuing to rise, it’s become a really great side hustle.
Rubie Drake, 21, events manager, Essex
Last year, all my friends at university were saving up to buy the same one-shoulder mini dress from Rat & Boa – a British brand that’s really popular on Instagram. The dress usually retails for £200, but I spotted one on eBay for £80. I wanted to make some extra money so I thought, why not buy it specifically to lend it out? I had seen a TikTok video from someone who had rented successfully, so I thought I’d give it a go.
Since then, that dress has been rented more than 25 times – someone rents it out at least once a week. Due to demand, I’ve bought another three of the same dress in medium, small and extra small. I’ve invested in some other brands, too, and now make about £250 a week from renting.
I use a rental platform but I have also set up an Instagram account so I can lend independently. I post pictures of what’s available and people message me if they see something they want to rent. It is more of a risk – unlike the rental platforms, I don’t have insurance, so I usually lend to friends of friends.
Most of my clients are graduates, like me. A lot of people see clothes as disposable, so renting is a good alternative. Since I left uni, I no longer rent to students because the last time I did a girl ripped the front of the dress I had loaned her. She messaged me to apologise, but it couldn’t be repaired so she ended up paying the cost price.
Now I’ve got a full-time job in event management, I have to be really organised about renting out my wardrobe. In between loans, I send each piece to be dry-cleaned. Some of my dresses can only be hand-washed, so often my mum does that for me while I’m at work. Dresses seem to be the items that are most in demand – I think it’s because people rent more for special occasions. It means you can get something that’s a bit more luxurious, and decreases the chance that somebody else will be wearing the same dress, as most people shop the high street owing to cost.