New clothes, without the guilt, expense or wardrobe space associated with single-wear purchases? Before the coronavirus pandemic, smart shoppers extolled rental as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to shopping. Several new British companies launched, loaning luxury clothes and accessories, and reporting exponential growth in their first years of trading. Could this be the future of fast fashion?
Then the lockdown began; shops shuttered, events cancelled, diaries cleared. Suddenly everything had to be vigorously disinfected and, as we were all holed-up at home for the foreseeable future, there seemed little need to change out of pyjamas. What would become of a newly-launched sector that relies on dressing up and sharing clothes?
Unsurprisingly, the rental market slowed – most businesses had huge plans for the spring occasionwear season, a key opportunity to convince new customers to try renting a special dress