Fast fashion is playing a seminal role in destroying our planet, polluting our oceans and generating a staggering 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year (more than all international flights). The sartorial shame is real. While reconciling luxury fashion with sustainability is a tough gig in itself, the dizzying rise of rental and resale sites, paired with a fine vintage renaissance is certainly a step in the right direction.
With social media placing an expiry date on luxury pieces and the likes of Airbnb, Netflix and Uber opening the sharing and subscription economy floodgates, British consumers have never been more open to leasing high end fashion. As long as dry cleaning and delivery impact is scrutinised, rental fashion reduces waste, improves the life-span of clothing and reduces custodians’ fabric footprint with a more circular economy. If a monthly cocktail of Simone Rocha dresses, Fendi ski suits and Carven coats sounds appealing, consider signing on to one of the resale sites or rental services below. Just steer clear of the red wine…
Our growing love of rental and resale platforms has meant that there are now hundreds to choose from. Not sure where to start? From My Wardrobe HQ and BagButler to thelittleloop and HURR Collective, we’ve outlined some of our favourites below (and what they’re best for):
1. HURR Collective
HURR Collective is becoming a bit of a household name when it comes to renting a super luxe wardrobe for a fraction of the price. On its website, you’ll find peer-to-peer listings as well as items directly from brands and department stores, and even fun seasonal edits if you’re in need of some inspiration.
The rental platform has even kitted out the royals for public events; the Princess of Wales was spotted in in a green Solace London gown that she rented from HURR for the Earthshot Prize 2022 awards ceremony in Boston. You can rent the exact dress she wore
here (it’s currently available in sizes UK 4 to 16).
2. My Wardrobe HQ
Launched in 2019, this fashion-pack favourite quickly amassed an impressive catalogue of top designer brands, from heavyweights like Chanel, Gucci and Prada to newer labels like RIXO, Dodo Bar Or and GANNI. Members can enjoy an extended rental period – up to 14 days – and, if they find themselves falling for the piece, buy it outright. Surely the chicest way to ‘try before you buy’.
Luxury rental platform Rotaro routinely teams with big names and brands to offer customers a curated selection of rentable clothing items and accessories. Previous collaborators include RIXO, Rejina Pyo, Alexa Chung and Max Mara, and new names are added to its impressive roster regularly.
4. By Rotation
Eshita Kabra-Davies founded this fashion rental app following a trip to her native home, Rajasthan in India, where the devastating impact of textile waste became more evident than ever. Making luxury items more affordable, accessible and naturally kinder to the planet, the platform is ideal for when you’re in need of a one-off occasion dress, or that designer bag you’ve always wanted (but aren’t quite ready to splash out on). The brand has also partnered with boutique hotel collection Page 8 to offer hotel guests a unique rental concierge service this summer, where a series of luxury pre-loved items will be available to rent (delivered to the room in under 90 minutes or less) – so you can be sure to pack light.
5. Rent the Runway
Lauded for leading the charge on the rental fashion movement, Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss in the US and began by offering women low rental fees for designer dresses. The company recently graduated to two ‘membership’ models, now with over 550 designer partners offering pieces for a plethora of occasions and even exclusive capsule collections for Rent the Runway.
6. Front Row
Shika Bodani launched Front Row, London’s first luxury designer rental service, in 2016, spotting a gap in the market for a high-end fashion wardrobe on rotation. Bodani saw the fashion influencer culture as key to peddling the sartorial shift and endeavoured to bring America’s rental success stories to the UK, enabling clients instant access to the hottest designers and trends for a fraction of the retail price.
7. Girl Meets Dress
With a pay-as-you-go or membership option, Girl Meets Dress is Europe’s leading fashion rental site on a mission to build a ‘wardrobe in the cloud’. Founding the company in 2009, Anna Bance pins the new borrowing norm on the rise of the experience economy where trips are prioritised over expensive designer dresses, along with an increasing consumer conscience and responsible shopping mentality. Ideal for occasion wear from weddings to the races, shoppers can order dresses as far in advance as they wish – there is no limit.
8. The Devout
Rental subscription service The Devout offers its customers rental options starting at £40 and subscription tiers starting at £39 a month, which includes access to big name brands like House of Sunny and Whistles. The platform also has the option to try a monthly 10-item package for £99 a month (10 rental items a month for under £100? Yes, please.), allowing users to find the outfit of their dreams at a more affordable price. Items are shipped via carbon neutral couriers, and packaging is made used compostable materials and water-based ink.
9. Endless Wardrobe
The first ‘three-way shop’ platform (rent, buy new and purchase pre-loved), Endless Wardrobe is on a mission to transform the way we consume fashion into a more sustainable and
circular concept. Founded by two friends, Hannah and Rosie – who have spent many years sharing clothes – the platform features a range of coveted brands, from Free People to Alexa Chung, Whistles and De La Vali (where you can rent a luxe f risco mini dress for four days for around £45), with the aim of making designer and luxury fashion more affordable, and more importantly, eco-friendly.
10. SKIIM Paris
SKIIM Paris is known for their attention to craftsmanship and zero waste, producing high-end womenswear that is both contemporary and made to last. But what some people may not realise is that SKIIM Paris also offers a rental service, Rent The Look, which allows users access to pieces from the brand’s archives. Designer delivered right to your door.
The aim of StyleSwap is to bring together a creative community of style storytellers, who are mindful to the planet and the impact our shopping habits can have on it. Launched in 2019 by former fashion designer Jo Waddington, StyleSwap lets users search through pre-loved items that have been selected based on your personal fashion style (you can take the brand’s style quiz here), matching you to specific sellers based on your preferences. You can also sell your old clothes on the platform, so you can help keep things circular.
Selfridges continues to lead from the front when it comes to disrupting traditional retail. As well as working with The Restory (for repairing your old Chanel) and Hurr Collective (for dress rental), they’ve now launched a pre-loved fashion section both in store in The Corner Shop and online. Soon, you’ll be able to sell your vintage pieces with them too.
One of the newer resale sites to hit the second-hand luxury market is
Cudoni, launched in 2017 after founder James Harford-Tyrer noticed a gap in the market for premium fashion resale sites. Targeted at stylish individuals with overflowing wardrobes, the seamless service couldn’t be easier to use: after listing an item you’d like to sell, Cudoni arrange a free pick-up and packaging service at your chosen time. There’s plenty for those looking to buy too: both women’s and men’s clothes, accessories, shoes, watches and jewellery. ‘Simple, trustworthy, and sustainable – we offer a first-class service that takes care of every detail in selling whilst supporting the global shift towards a greener future; aiming to be a truly effortless service that makes luxury fashion circular,’ says James.
14. Fenwick x Front Row London
British department store Fenwick has teamed up with Front Row London to launch an exclusive rental service in its Bond Street and Newcastle stores. Available from June 2022, the collaboration brings designers from the runway straight to stores, with a curated edit of styles from established and up-and-coming designers.
15. Reflaunt x Harvey Nichols
Resale service Reflaunt connects luxury brands with its second-hand community, which includes 50 million shoppers across 25 international marketplaces. The company has recently joined forces with Harvey Nichols, allowing customers to resell any piece in their wardrobe – and earn back up to 80 per cent of the original price. To get involved, all you need to do is drop the item off in-store – or have it picked up from your home, if you live in London – and the rest is taken care of.
16. Harrods x My Wardrobe HQ
One of the world’s most famous luxury department stores, Harrods, is launching its own fashion rental service. Running in partnership with My Wardrobe HQ – the company that supplied Carrie Johnson’s wedding dress – the range will focus on ‘elevated event-wear’, including statement pieces by designers like Huishan Zhang, Rotate, Roksanda and Zimmermann. You’ll be able to rent items for between four and 14 days.
17. Anya Hindmarch Rental
British accessories brand
Anya Hindmarch has just launched its very own rental platform, with a curated selection of hero designs, new pieces and archived favourites from past seasons. The service, which encourages users to rent their bag of choice for the night, also offers the chance to buy each rented item secondhand afterwards – for a fraction of the usual retail price.
Want to get your hands on the latest luxury bags and accessories for a fraction of the price? London-based rental service BagButler lets you do just that, giving shoppers the opportunity to rent classic bags from heritage brands from just £160. Ideal if you want to chase the latest trends without breaking the bank – or giving in to wasteful shopping habits – BagButler is ready to welcome you to the rental revolution.
19. EKC Luxury
EKC Luxury provides more than just pre-loved designer handbags and accessories, but repairs, customisation, and an array of shopping events too. From Chanel flap bags to a covetable Hermès Birkin, the designer resale site ensures that every luxury item is truly authentic, stating that ‘Creating a wearable art collection through rare pre-owned treasures is the new form of sustainable luxury.’ We couldn’t agree more.
20. Sellier Knightsbridge
If it’s a genuine Hermes handbag that you’re after, Sellier Knightsbridge is where you’ll find your perfect match. The luxury resale store is ‘the UK’s most trusted reseller of authentic Hermes bags’, but you’ll also find a range of equally-as-desirable designer clothes,
shoes and accessories, along with a small collection of menswear. For those who prefer to do their pre-loved shopping in person, the brand’s consignment store at Cheval Place in Knightsbridge – which has delighted customers since the 1970s – is a must-visit.
21. HEWI London
The ‘home for luxury fashion resale’, HEWI (Hardly Ever Worn It) is one of the ultimate resale sites, bursting at the seams with barely-worn Dolce & Gabbana dresses to brand new (just the wrong colour for its custodian) Dior jackets et al.
22. Vestiaire Collective
Parisian powerhouse, Vestiaire Collective, defied the naysayers and brought vintage or rather ‘preloved’ into the tech sphere, operating as a high-end eBay with a rigorous quality control. Founded in Paris in 2009, Vestiaire is now the leading online marketplace for buying and selling pre-owned designer clothing and accessories.
5 Tips For Selling Your Items on Resale Platforms with Vestiaire Collective
Parents have a whole other sustainability dilemma to deal with: growing children. That’s why
Eve Kekeh founded Bundlee, a kidswear clothing rental platform which allows mums and dads to sign up to a subscription platform. Choose the plan that fits your family, and conscious clothes for little ones will be delivered to your door when you need them. When your child outgrows an item, simply swap it for the next size up; the smaller size will then be cleaned and passed on to another family. All clothes are made in the UK from soft Oeko-Tex cotton, and in the personalised subscription you can choose premium pieces to rent from brands like MORI and Little Riley Studio.
24. Le Petit Planet
Le Petit Planet was founded by former Inditex Director and Temperley London CEO, Patricia Sancho, and former luxury fashion buyer for Harrods and Burberry, Claire Armstrong. The brand started out with a sustainability-focused edit of fashion, interiors and lifestyle products from the likes of Caramel London, Banwood, Little Dutch, Oyoy Mini, Organic Zoo and Töastie – but recently launched its own resale service,
Reloved, earlier this year, making it the first children’s lifestyle destination where families can buy new and resell within the same space.
Created with the goal of helping parents keep up with their rapidly growing children, thelittleloop is somewhat of a household name when it comes to rental kidswear. The brand famously appeared on the BBC’s
Dragon’s Den, where entrepreneur Deborah Meaden invested in the company, and the platform has only grown since. thelittleloop is home to a huge range of kidswear brands, from John Lewis to Rachel Riley, and prices reflect the condition of each item (when they can no longer be passed on they are are broken down and recycled in the UK). You can opt for a monthly subscription plan starting at £18, which enables you to rent roughly six or seven products at a time with unlimited swaps.