With rented fashion becoming more and more accepted, it’s not uncommon to find that a friend has rented part (or all) of the outfit they sport at a social gathering. Thanks to the rapid growth of consciousness around sustainability, consumers are finding that they can save money – and the planet – by opting to rent clothes instead of buying them. Even celebrities don’t shy away from hiring instead of buying designer stuff. Carrie Johnson, Kourtney Kardashian, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rakul Preet Singh are some celebs who have availed of fashion rental services. Interestingly, most of Carrie Johnson’s ensembles at the recently-concluded G7 summit as also her designer wedding gown were reportedly rented.
Ashri Jaiswal, co-founder, Ziniosa, known for providing luxury handbags on hire, says, “In the current market, people are open to renting everything, from clothes to accessories to jewellery. With weddings getting much smaller in size, brides are renting jewellery and handbags from Ziniosa for their intimate wedding ceremonies and also pre-wedding photoshoots.”
However, she stresses that the concept of buying has not been eliminated, and advises that some classic timeless pieces that can be used again and again should be purchased, while outfits and accessories that are intended to be only worn once or twice can easily be rented, to save money and the environment. “Clutches are our best sellers and we have rented our pieces to Soha Ali Khan, Tanisha Mukherjee, Rakul Preet Singh and Mithila Palkar to name a few,” Ashri says, adding, “When we entered the market three years ago, we felt that the Indian audience was just getting introduced to the idea of fashion rental. But in no time, things have changed. Millennials and Gen Z understand the importance of a sustainable and circular wardrobe and they no longer consider it taboo. In fact, we've recently joined hands with one of the brides from Netflix's famous show The Big Day, who is selling her entire wedding closet on Ziniosa. This just goes to show that the mindset is changing."
According to Shilpa Bhatia, founder of The Clothing Rental, a Mumbai-based rental platform with an e-commerce portal and two offline stores, it’s better to rent high-priced, rarely-to-be-worn statement pieces or event pieces. “For example, if you need a nice suit for a job interview or a work meeting, but don’t think you will be wearing it too often after that, definitely rent it, as that might cost you only 10%-25% of what it would cost to buy. Renting is a convenient value-for-money option. You don’t need to repeat the outfit, or stress about dry cleaning it storing it,” she says, but adds, “Renting isn’t recommended for everyday casual wear.”
Interestingly, fashion influencer Pavitra Sagar, co-owner Funky Fish and Kairos Home, prefers buying a pair of shoes rather than renting them, but is all for hiring clothes and other accessories, including watches, belts, fashion jewellery and handbags. “Another great idea would be to rent out real jewellery for weddings and other special occasions,” she says, adding, “According to me, bags and designer clothing are the most rented items in the Indian market.”
Pavitra feels the concept of renting is catching on in India. “It makes absolute sense to hire a heavy wedding outfit that one might never be able to wear again. The millennials who like to keep up with trends might prefer to rent the latest trending bag rather than spend an obscene amount on it, and have it go out of fashion in a matter of a few months,” she notes.
Sarika Pawar, Founder, House Of Soi, feels people invest in things that are affordable and can be used for at least 1-2 years. “People in India like to own things – be it cars, houses or anything fashion related – which makes renting a secondary option,” she says, but goes on to add that “renting works great for people who are not looking to invest, but still want to be on their A game when it comes to fashion.” Given the current situation where the market and people's incomes have been hit badly, the concept of renting doesn't seem bad, as the investment is for a short period of time and allows people to experiment a bit more when it comes to shoes, bags and accessories,” she shares.
Noting that occasion-wear, especially in India, is expensive, Tulasi Satty Reddy, co-founder of Hyderabad-based clothing rental platform Kuro, says “You wear an outfit, upload pictures on social media, and automatically, you don’t wish to repeat that outfit again. Kuro is a platform where you can rent Indian attire for any occasion, she explains, and adds that their designer outfits – Jayanti Reddy, Anushree Reddy, Shantanu and Nikhil etc – are crowd favourites.
And renting is not limited to fashion – there are options to rent electronic goods, fitness equipment, cars, bikes, furniture etc., too, as people tend to move around to different cities on work. “Renting is so common in the travel sphere – you can rent cars (Uber/Kayak), spaces (Airbnb, Halls)”, says Tulasi.
Celebrities who wore rental fashion
· Carrie Johnson
· Kourtney Kardashian
· Priyanka Chopra Jonas
· Soha Ali Khan
· Tanisha Mukherjee
· Rakul Preet Singh
· Mithila Palkar
What's good to rent
· Fashion Accessories
What's better to buy
· Fitness Equipment
How does it work
One can browse through the catalogs and order for rent after going through the size and fitting chart. The rental period ranges from 3 days to a week mostly. The rent amount generally also includes a refundable security deposit. If any damages happen, the amount is deducted from the deposit.
High-end brands on rent
Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, YSL, Coach, Valentino, Ferragamo, Burberry, Alexandar McQueen, Antonio Berardi, Michael Kors, Satya Paul, Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherji