Why Buy When You Can Try? – Reap the Rewards of Fun Fashion Rental Services
Written Natasha Seetanah and Edited By Alison Jane Reid
Fashion Revolution is in the air! There’s so much going on at the moment in terms of sustainable fashion innovation that allows us to indulge in luxurious consumption but in new and intelligent ways with minimal damage to the planet.
One of the best emerging forms of intelligent consumption that finds an all-important compromise with sustainability is revealed to us – would you believe it – in the first Sex And The City film. Do you remember Louise, Carrie’s personal assistant as played by singer-turned-actress Jennifer Hudson? Working in the Big Apple, her character feels the pressure of having to keep up with high-fashion trends that lie outside of her means. Later on in the film she then bashfully admits to Carrie that her Louis Vuitton bag is actually hired from a rental company.
Hiring designer items! It’s a genius idea, isn’t it? By renting instead of buying we can satisfy our fashionista aspirations without feeling guilty about buying another dress, bag, or pair of shoes that would inevitably be doomed to lifetime imprisonment inside our crammed to rafters wardrobes, gathering dust for a decade whilst it sits there unworn and unloved. And we never have to wear the same thing twice! Just rent an outfit for one night and another for the next. No longer will we have to stand in front of our boring but full to the brim wardrobe with the age-old ‘I have nothing to wear’ problem. Even on a shoestring budget we can now play out our dreams of becoming a true fashion icon.
Since that fatal moment in Sex and The City, rental ventures have begun to appear everywhere. Here at EH we think they’re a brilliant example of commercial recycling and a concept which might help to reduce the 1.4 million tonnes of textile waste that Britain sends to landfill each year. And we bet that you can find a rental company that perfectly suits your style personality and desires! Here we give a round-up of some of the finest examples…
Girl Meets Dress.com
The biggest dress hiring website in the UK, Girl Meets Dress offers a selection of over 4,000 gorgeous gowns from a range of more than 150 designers. Think Dolce and Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Marc Jocobs and Alexander McQueen. I’ve got my eye on the iconic Herve Leger bandage bodycon dresses! Finally I can shake loose my frustration over the inadequacy of high-street copycats and get the real deal for a fraction of the cost of buying it. Emergency next day delivery is available for those last minute fashion crises and there are even options to try on a selection of three up to a month before the big event. Prices start from £29.
Make like Jennifer Hudson and become a member of this handbag hotspot for as little as £9.95 per month. The site features classics like the Chanel 2.55 and Mulberry Bayswater, as well as trendier options including the tassled Balenciaga First Bag and a rather lovely patent purple YSL clutch. For one-month-only you can be the proud owner of the latest celebrity ‘it’ bag, and then swap it in for another style as soon as you get bored the next month! Although handbag hire has been popular in the U.S for a while now, Fashion Hire boasts to be the first company to carry the idea across the pond. Individual hire prices range from £20 to £130 per month.
Lucy In Disguise – 48 Lexington Street, Soho, London.
If vintage is what you’re after then look no further than Lucy in Disguise. Originally founded by Lily Allen and her sister Sarah Owen, the shop in Soho is open 7 days a week ‘selling beautiful vintage outfits and accessories in a wonderful eclectic space that shoppers can’t get enough of.’ Their impressive collection is available to buy and browse online, where you can shop by era and the majority of these items can be hired in-store. Having won ‘Best Vintage Designer Store’ in the London Vintage Awards last year, it’s definitely worth checking out. Find out more at lucyindisguiselondon.com.
I’m a self-confessed shoe addict, so it was with great delight that I discovered Cinderella Me, a shoe hire website that will make sure that you do go to the ball, and whilst looking and feeling a million dollars. Membership is free and you’ll get access to more than 200 designs from brands including Alexander McQueen, Dior, Jimmy Choo and of course, those red-soled victors from Christian Louboutin. Prices start at £40 for a week’s hire, and the company makes sure that no pair is rented out more than 8 times so you’re guaranteed that they’ll be in good condition. Find them online at www.cinderella-me.co.uk.
Rentez-Vous – London and Paris.
So you’ve heard of peer-to-peer music file sharing, but have you considered peer-to-peer clothes sharing? Rentez-Vous creates events across the capital where women and designers can come together to share their clothes. Rental fees stand at 15% of the garments original RRP, which amounts to a very reasonable £20 on average for 3 weeks. ‘There’s [an estimated] £1.6bn of clothes in women’s wardrobes in the UK that they don’t wear but don’t want to throw out. Those are exactly the type of clothes we want to target,’ French founder Fiona Disegni tells The Guardian. Like their Facebook page or visit their website at www.rentez-vous.com/en/ for information on upcoming events. The concept is soon to be available online and Rentez-Vous are looking for those who want to get involved, so if you’re interested in becoming a seller then get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Celebrity Dress.com
Another hire site for women’s designer evening and party dresses, this one comes with a pop-culture twist because all the dresses have been chosen from examples spotted on A-list celebrities. Dresses start cheap at £20 from brands like French Connection, ranging to £65 for a memorable Mathew Williamson number that you might have seen sported by Cheryl Cole, Eva Longoria, Jaime Winston and Lindsay Lohan. Membership is free and you can browse by celebrity, designer, style or occasion. Simple! Head to www.mycelebritydress.com
Get Ahead Hats
Going to the races this summer? Or maybe you’ve been invited to a wedding and you’ve got that awful ‘what am i going to wear?!’ question looming in the back of your mind? Well, why not start with a hat. There are loads of hat hire services out there to choose from, but Get Ahead Hats takes the lead with over 4500 styles in their 18 showrooms across the country. They stock all kinds of shapes and sizes, in bright popping colours through to subtler tones to suit a broad range of personalities. Go to www.getaheadhats.co.uk to find your nearest stockists.
The Real McCoy –21 McCoy’s Arcade, Fore Street, EX4 3AN
Loved by the likes of Will Young and Devon’s hippy sweetheart Joss Stone, The Real McCoy brings vintage rental-wear to the South Coast. Housing a broad range of men and women’s fancy dress as well as retro suits and gowns, you’ll find items including original 70’s disco flares, glitzy beaded flapper dresses, rare trainers from the 80’s and reproduced pieces too. Walk your way through a 20th Century memory lane with two floors full of clothes from iconic names like Jean Varon, Biba and Ossie Clark. They even have a café, which they describe on their website as a ‘shrine to Levi’s.’ It sounds to me like a great excuse to go and play dress up! Find out more at www.therealmccoy.co.uk .
Designer Fit – 8A Woolsington Gardens, Woolsington, Newcastle-Upon-Thyme NE13 8ER
If you live up North and you’re looking to wow your fellow party-goers in a Red-Carpet -worthy couture gown then pay a visit to Designer Fit. Browse through a dazzling selection of dresses rich in embellishment and embroidery, from luxury brands like Jovani, Sherri Hill, Forever Unique, Ashley Roberts and more. Head in-store to view the whole collection or go to www.designerfit.co.uk for a teaser.
One Night Stand – Studio 8, Chelsea Manor Studios, Flood Street, Chelsea, SW3 5SR.
Setting up shop more than 30 years ago, these guys were ahead of the game. Their collection of more than 400 luxury evening gowns caters to women of all ages with a broad range of styles. Book an appointment and you’ll be given professional styling advice from experts in the business, with tailors on-hand to make alterations to garments where necessary. Register online at www.onenightstand.com to receive a 10% discount off your first rental.
Wish Want Wear.com
A not too far cry from Girlmeetsdress.com but perhaps even more chic, housing names like Just Cavalli, ALICE by Temperley and M Missoni. With more than 1000 dresses, as well as jumpsuits and co-ords, you’ll be spoilt for choice and their range of statement jewellery is really spectacular. There’s a stand-out show gown by Temperley London and it’s available to hire for just £95 – that’s less than 3% of its £3300 price tag! Go to www.wishwantwear.com for more info.
Lucy Tammam is a revolutionary designer with a vegan vision to transform modern couture whilst using luxurious sustainable materials and her atelier is the embodiment of this vision. Lucy’s cutting edge designs range from regal, fairy-tale red carpet gowns to dream-like bridal wear, with a focus on bespoke vintage couture and the golden eras of glamour. Her exquisite bridal gowns are prepared in her charming atelier in Bloomsbury and are available to hire. Book an appointment with Atelier Tammam via their website at: http://tammam.co.uk/or call on 0044 (0) 20 7388 5924 for more information.