I’ll let you in on fashion’s worst kept secret: more often than not, any A-lister you spot on red carpets or at plush dinners is not wearing their real clothes.
They are samples a stylist has called in, which over the course of the season will bounce around various shoots and even more celebrities. Everyone wins: the stars can sparkle for an evening, get their ‘gram and Getty pic, and send back the looks for other people to enjoy.
Borrowing a frock is bona fide the best way to nail a night out without buying that sequin mini after work and banishing it to the back of the cupboard forever more. And while we can’t all rely on top brands loaning us clothes, the booming rental market means you can do the same — dress your best for less (and much more sustainably).
It was all the rage during the last party season and it’s only pick upt his year. Now the labels are renting on their own — from L.K.Bennett and H&M — while big luxury retailer Matches Fashion is set to launch its own rental sector this month. Here are the services to know…
The newest on the block is the mecca of high style, Matches Fashion. So new, in fact, you can’t rent quite yet — its online service launches on November 21 and will be expertly curated by the buying team. One to put in the diary.
Brands: Timed for the event season, expect all things sequins and shimmer from labels to swoon for. There will be Aje, Emilia Wickstead and the statement maker Taller Marmo — not to mention exclusive Matches styles designed by 1Arlington, Nensi Dojaka and The Vampire’s Wife. Literally the stuff of party girl dreams.
How it works: The rental kicks off with a month-long pop-up at the 5 Carlos Place, Mayfair, flagship shop where customers can try on in store — it will run November 21 – December 23 as a needed spot to get that last minute festive fit.
You will also be able to browse online, and rent garments for four, eight, 10 and 20 day periods.
Price: While the exact prices are yet to be released, the service is powered by Hurr, where designer pieces are available for 20 per cent of retail price.
ROTARO is the website specialising in stocking the cult-brands we’re all lusting after, but are reluctant to invest in.
Brands: Rixo, The Vampire’s Wife, Shrimps, ROTATE Birger Christensen, Zimmerman, Staud, Stine Goya, Cecilie Bahnsen, amongst others. Say no more: where do we sign?
How it works: Pick your piece, select the duration you’re looking to borrow it for (four, eight or 12 days) and choose the date you’d like it to arrive on your doorstep (order before 12pm for next day delivery, or you can book up to six months prior.)
Sustainability is at the heart of ROTARO: they use carbon-neutral DPD, the leader in sustainable delivery in London, biodegradable corn-starch packaging and recycled and recyclable tissue paper to wrap up their pieces. The cleaning process they use to wash garments is referred to as “wet-washing”, which is essentially a more sustainable alternative to dry-cleaning, and they only dry-clean with eco-friendly detergents when absolutely necessary.
Price: You can rent disco-ball ROTATE Birger Christensen dresses from £35 (RPP £380) for four days — they’ve got you sorted for party season.
By Rotation was the first of its kind and the UK’s debut fashion rental app.
Brands: By Rotation specialises specifically in the “It” brands of Instagram; there’s everything from Ganni to The Vampire’s Wife to Balenciaga to Dior. Oh, and need we say more about the Manolos à la Carrie Bradshaw also available?
How it works: It is a peer-to-peer app with no waiting list, unlike some of the other services, meaning you can sign up right away and start lending and borrowing. It takes less than two minutes to list an item, and the reviewing system means you can easily read up on the person you’re lending to or borrowing from.
Great news for Londoners, too, is that there’s an on-demand delivery service available, meaning any last-minute fashion flaps are a thing of the past.
Price: The app recommends listing items for no more than five per cent of the retail price per day. Find De La Vali feather trimmed frocks from £59 for three days.
Download the By Rotation app on Google Play, the iTunes store or find out more about the company here.
This peer-to-peer dress rental platform is perfect for renting something quickly in London, and has a good stock of all things black tie to wedding guest-ready.
Brands: Everything from &Other Stories through to Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
How it works: Hurr is a peer-to-peer rental platform, which means the company doesn’t have a central hub, but rather lenders are responsible for posting, couriering or exchanging their items in person. To rent or loan clothing on the platform you must first be approved by the Hurr team — apply here. And when picking items to put up for rent, their stipulations are, they must be on their Designers List, less than two years old and with a retail price over £120.
Lenders are responsible for dry cleaning the item once returned. They can use any provider but Hurr has partnered with award winning eco-friendly dry cleaners Blanc on special rates.
Price: Renters can access designer pieces for around 20 per cent of the retail price. The company makes money by taking 15 per cent of the rental price from the lender and 15 per cent from the renter. Seven day dress hire from £30 upwards – and for a splurge, Nensi Dojaka, the strappy dress maker favoured by Zendaya, has gowns up for £161 (retail £1685).
We all know luxury department store Selfridges, but not everyone knows they offer their very own renting service. Browse online, or head into store to try before you borrow and ensure the perfect fit.
Brands: As you might expect, Selfridges are not struggling to snag the top brands. Amongst the party girl frocks from Harmur, Mugler, and Alexandre Vauthier, you have cult handbags from Balenciaga and Jacquemus and puffer coats from Prada.
How it works: First register for an account, then have a browse through the Selfridges Rental section fo the website. Here you will find womenswear, menswear and kidswear — and plenty of it. You can rent items for four, eight, 10 or 20 days and simply send them back using the pre-paid return packaging provided.
Price: Expect a healthy range including Rixo from £39, Jacquemus minis from £65 and runway ready David Koma for £162.
Girl Meets Dress
Founded in 2009 by the ex-head of UK PR for Hermes, Anna Bance, Girl Meets Dress was a pioneer in the rental market and remains the go to for a more mature set of customers after Kate Middleton and Carrie Johnson approved styles.
Brands: You’ve got your sophisticated mid-market labels including Ganni, Dodo Bar and Self Portrait, as well as major designers like Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana and Zimmerman.
How it works: There’s no need to register or subscribe, you don’t even have to create an account with them. Just browse and order a dress to hire for two or seven nights. You can try on up to three dresses and only pay for the dress you wear. Dresses are delivered within 24 hours (next day in UK and same day in London) and returns are free. Alternatively sign up for a VIP membership and get a rolling delivery of three dresses at a time.
They also have a showroom in Fulham where you can pop in and try on as many dresses as you like.
Price: Two night dress hire from £29. VIP membership £99/ month.
Unlike most rental sites offering predominantly luxury pieces, Hirestreet offer the pick of the high street. Think cheaper clothes more targeted towards 16 to 30 year olds.
Brands: Their top brands listed include French Connection and Rat & Boa as well as fast fashion labels River Island and Nobody’s Child.
How it works: Simply choose your outfit, select your rental period and checkout to reserve your item. You can borrow pieces for as little as four days and as long as 16 days and, once you’re done, you can return it using a pre-paid postage bag and drop it at your designated returns location.
Price: Hirestreet’s high street items start from £9, and there is a fully stocked under £20 rental section online. Customers can also rent premium £200 dresses for as little as £20, so there’s something for every budget.
My Wardrobe HQ
Founded in 2019, you would be hard pushed not to find something perfect for you here — there are thousands of products available. Another bonus, you can head to Harrods to try before you rent too.
Brands: With over 500 designers, the choice is quite honestly huge. You’ve got your leading luxury labels – Gucci, Hermes, Chloé and the likes. But also go for the choice London brands, including Christopher Kane, Erdem and Amanda Wakeley.
How it works: To start renting you will have to verify your identity, and then dive into their selection spanning your go-to party frocks, but also bridal, skiwear, kidswear and beachwear.
You can rent for four to 14 days, before sending your items back using a pre-paid DPD return label where they will handle the dry cleaning. And… if you do happen to fall in love, most items can be bought too.
Price: Take it from us, these prices are temping. 16Arlington mini dresses could be yours for £16 a day, full length Rixo frocks for £7 a day, and Dior saddle bags for £20 a day. What are you waiting for?
The newbie on the block. Loanhood, a rental app for young people, was founded six months ago and has seen over 103 per cent growth since, taking on more than 80 new designers. “We want to fix fashion, but let’s face it we still want our fashion fix and we still want to have fun,” reads their website.
Brands: 35 per cent of the app is dedicated to young designers aged 20 to 24 as it stands, which means cutting edge new designs from the likes of Katie France, Supanova and Rush. There is even “wearable art” for the braver few.
How it works: It’s basically the Depop of the renting for Gen Z – snap your pieces, set a price, post or drop off to a renter – and repeat! Like Depop, you can follow your favourite renters and borrow straight from scrolling.
Price: The suggested rate of renting is 10 per cent of a garment’s retail price. Currently, they say, the the average price is at £31.10 – but keep an eye out, they are trying to reduce this further.