The online ‘Rental Fashion’ market in India has been on its peak with mushrooming startups and classic brands attracting the posh. The new age fashionistas believe in renting, rather than buying expensive designer wear. Turning up at a high profile luxury event in clothes that are rented and not owned isn’t a taboo anymore rather a new normal for the elites. A hectic social life coupled with the onslaught of social media has made repeating ones clothing or accessory almost unforgivable and even social harakiri. Circumstantially it makes little sense to invest thousands of rupees on clothes that will be worn once and be relegated to a corner in the closet.
A decade ago, renting high-end luxury or designer wear was more or less unheard of. Women who didn’t want to purchase an expensive dress for a one-time event were left to borrow it from a friend. Designer gown and accessory rentals were the exclusive territory of celebrities and their stylists.
While the international market is huge for wardrobe rental services, with successful ventures like rent the Runway, Lending Luxury, Girl Meets Dress, etc, for India this trend is still taking its baby steps. Shilpa Bhatia, an erstwhile Hindi film stylist, was among the first few to tap into the potential of luxury rental as early as in 2005 when she launched ‘The Clothing Rental’ in Mumbai. The Clothing Rental thrives today with two stores in Mumbai apart from an online presence. Offering similar deals are a number of online fashion rentals, including flyrobe.com, swishlist.in, stylebank.in, liberent.com and stage3.co.
Renting outfits has become common for those once-in-a-lifetime events (wedding, mehendi, sangeet, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties) that require a level of luxury that’s not necessarily worth the long-term investment. For instance, Flyrobe which claims to have partnered with designer labels like Outhouse, Masaba Gupta, Ritu Kumar, and Shehla Khan supplies western wear on-demand with a three-hour delivery timeline and the ethnic wear on advance booking.
The concept of luxury rental is simple: Customers can choose from designer garments, handbags, sunglasses, jewellery and other accessories they like, rent it for a couple of days at a fraction of the retail price and then return it; so easy!. The courier is then picked up from your doorstep back to where it belongs. Some companies even allow the person to own it by paying the retail price for the item.
In today’s time, when everything is for everyone, the allure of ‘no ownership’ moves beyond housing and cars bringing High-End Fashion to its dawn as one of the biggest rental industries . It assures satisfaction to the customer’s desire for a luxury product without endangering their kidneys. The new generation raves multiple experiences and desires to be fashionable and trendy, without the pressure of a permanent commitment.
Author: Vasanti Choudhary 2nd Year, B.Des. Fashion Design
4th Year, B. Des. Fashion Design
Assistant Professor, ASFDT
1st Year, B.Des. Fashion Design