Rent your clothes like Carrie
Ethical, eco and everywhere - with Carrie Symonds showing us how to work a sustainable wardrobe, here's where you can rewear, repair and renew your clothes in style.
Want to don designer threads? But have a deep-seated dislike of fast fashion? Yes! Us too! And it seems Carrie Symonds feels the same way. For her secret wedding and the G7 summit, the UK’s First Lady has been doing a damn fine job of showing us all how you can look splendid for minimal spend – all the while, saving the planet from unnecessary fabric manufacture and distribution.
And there is more to fashion’s new frontier than leasing posh dresses. There are platforms where you can rent your own covetable items, services that will repair bags and shoes that have seen better days (visible mending – or more specifically the Japanese practice of Sashiko – is a hot new trend) and even the high street brands have sections encouraging us to buy preloved. So, fancy reducing the environmental impact of your wardrobe? Well then, let’s go…!
Wardrobe HQ – Well, if it’s good enough for Carrie… Yes, so far this summer, Mrs Johnson # 3 has rented a Christos Costarellos wedding gown, Amanda Wakeley trouser suit, Alice Eady dress, Gucci handbag and Prada shoes from My Wardrobe HQ. To buy, it would have cost her thousands. To rent, it looks like she might just be pushing the £500 mark. The site is teeming with pieces from over 500 designers and you can rent shoes, bags, occasionwear and even everyday designer items for four to 14 days at a time. And if you happen to fall in love with your temporary wardrobe addition? Just email My Wardrobe HQ and you can buy it for a fraction of the RRP.
Selfridges – The big guns of the designer rental scene, Selfridges has teamed up with HURR to offer customers the opportunity to rent some seriously luxe designer threads for a mere snip of the actual retail price. A Stella McCartney trouser suit for just over £100? Er… yes please.
The Devout – A newish addition to the stable, this clever subscription service sends you five new pieces a month with laundry, insurance and delivery all included for £79. You get to try new designers and trends or pick out statement pieces for that upcoming wedding or first day back at work, and then the following month you send them all back and pick another five winners to make you look on trend/cool/or in my case, less like a bag lady.
Cocoon Club – As much as we’d like to have walk-in wardrobes (a la Kim K) with entire walls dedicated to our bag collection, alas it’s not to be. But there are crafty ways to up your designer bag interaction – namely Cocoon that allows you to rent a gorgeous, must-have handbag and swap monthly for the starting price of £49 per month. Memberships range from ‘Light’ (some bags) to ‘Deluxe’ (ALL THE BAGS plus a swap every fortnight) depending on your personal level of addiction.
Rotaro – The circular economy is at the heart of Rotaro’s offer, which is to stock cool-girl, cult fashion brands and then rent them out for four, eight or 12 days from the starting price of £25. So you can wear the wardrobe of your dreams but not actually buy it (although if you want to, that’s an option too), all the time serving as a counter to one-off, throwaway fashion. As ever, dry-cleaning and returns are part of the service.
By Rotation – Got a wardrobe that needs to be insured? Lucky you. But don’t just sit on your asset – you can make money out of it too. By Rotation allows you to list your wardrobe on the app and then communicate with potential renters, allowing you to approve or reject requests. You all then leave feedback so it’s a bit like Airbnb, but with chic tailoring and sequins. Don’t have the time to deal with the thousands of requests coming in to borrow your Balenciaga? Don’t stress: By Rotation offer a wardrobe management service to do the admin for you.
HEWI – HEWI stands for Hardly Ever Worn It, so you know where we’re going here. Founded by Sharon Wolter-Ferguson and her two daughters, Natalya and Tatiana, the idea was borne out of a time when the family were living in Monaco and witnessing first hand how the jet-set never wore the same outfit twice. Eight years on and HEWI now partners with celebrities from the worlds of film, entertainment and even royalty to sell on those one-wear designer pieces they no longer need.
Vinted – At the more High Street end of the scale, Vinted is a quick and easy way to buy and sell wardrobe excess. Expect Topshop dresses (brand new with tags) for a quarter of the RRP and pre-worn Zara coats for a tenner. High end it ain’t but there are some bargains to be had – plus you can browse from the comfort of your home.
One Scoop – Wouldn’t it be lovely to have someone comb through charity shops, car boot sales and thrift markets, looking for beautiful, wearable pieces and then offer their findings for sale on an easily navigated website? What’s that you say? That’s exactly what Holly Watkins of One Scoop does? Oh, excellent.
The Handbag Clinic – If your favourite handbag is looking a little manhandled, before forking out for a new one, try The Handbag Clinic online or at its Chelsea-based store. The team of expert technicians have decades of combined experience bringing bags back to life from broken zips and unpicked stitching to worn fabric or misshapen leather. You can also buy pre-loved designer bags or sell your own on the site.
Clothes Doctor – Did you know that by extending the lifespan of your clothes by nine months you can reduce their carbon, water, and landfill by up to 30%? Wowzer. That’s the aim of the UK’s first digital clothing maintenance service, Clothes Doctor. The site offers all sorts of services from repair work (fixing pocket holes or replacing fixtures) to alterations, restoration treatments and cleaning, all using an in-house brand of plant derived, plastic-free care products. Just snap a picture of your patient, get a quote and then send it in the post to be nursed back to health.