Wednesday, May 22, 2024

7 Irish retailers to rent outfits from this wedding season

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Summer is fast approaching, bringing with it weddings, holidays and many more opportunities to dress up. This year, instead of buying items you might wear just once and have them haunt you every time you open your wardrobe, why not try renting them?

Let’s face it, when it comes to a big occasion, we throw caution to the wind. We want to look our best and spend a few bob on a sparkly or patterned dress that we know we’ll only get to wear on the Big Night Out.

Not to put a dampener on the festive season but when you look at the fashion industry as a whole the statistics can be very sobering. Our obsession with buying the latest trends is responsible for 8%-10% of global emissions.

According to Oxfam, half a tonne of clothing every minute is dumped into landfill in Ireland. The best way to reduce this throwaway culture is to reduce our spending on fashion and try a more circular-economy approach: borrow, rent and reuse.

Here are seven Irish businesses thriving by making fashion last – instead of fast. Happy renting!

Happy-Days.ie

During the Covid pandemic, Rachel Hennessey started to question her own shopping habits. She had a wardrobe full of clothes but didn’t feel she was really getting enough wear out of them. She stopped following fast fashion accounts and decided her aim was to shop second hand as much as possible.

With a finance and accounting background, Rachel started doing market research and focus groups and saw that there was a real appetite for a more sustainable and economical way to shop, without hurting the planet. Happy Days source the majority of their clothes second hand from websites such as Depop, eBay and vintage sellers online, many with tags still on.

You can rent clothes directly from the website, and have them couriered straight to your door, or you can visit their shop in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. Rachel says she has had a busy year with customers looking for the perfect outfits for weddings, work parties, date and debs nights – all while contributing to the circular economy.

Brands: RIXO, Self Portrait, ROTATE Birger Christensen, Reformation.

Rental prices: Depending on the dress, items start at €60 to €150 for a three-day rental. You can rent items for up to 10 days, at a higher rate.

Available sizes: 4-26

Postal Service: You can browse online, and a courier will deliver and pick up from your chosen address. Items are placed in reusable packaging.

Who rents from Happy Days? You’ll see Louise McSharry, Aoife Walsh, Amy Huberman and Hannah Saunders looking fab in their rental gear.

Drobey

While studying for a masters in Global Fashion Retailing at London College of Fashion, Nicky Dwyer noticed a really vibrant fashion rental scene which she felt wasn’t on offer back in Ireland. Drobey was born and its aim is to take the guilt out of fast-changing fashion trends.

Their motto is: invest in your staples and we’ll take care of the rest. Drobey’s focus is on accessibility to high-end brands at rental prices a fraction of what you would pay off the hanger. Nicky says that most of her customers want to add a superior item to their look, and many come to her for outfits for date nights, weekends away and formal occasions. Drobey has also set its sight on the winter market by branching out into the Ski-wear rental sector. This move is sure to be a hit.

Brands: BEC & BRIDGE, Aje, Shona Joy, Rashhiiid, Colin Horgan to name but a few.

Rental prices: from €20 per day for clothing, and from €10 for accessories.

How it works: Offers four, eight, and 12-day rental. DPD delivery at the start day of rental and prepaid return label. Or click and collect. You can return items in person too.

Who uses Drobey Rental? Roz Purcell

Luxe Library

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Remember Louise from St. Louis who was Carrie’s PA in the Sex and the City movie? Carrie couldn’t understand how Louise had so many designer bags. “It’s a rental,” Louise explained.

Well, Luxe Library is doing just that in Ireland. You can now rent the bag you have been dreaming about for a fraction of the price, on a weekly or monthly basis. The owner of Lux Library, Eavan Agnew has a Masters in Fashion Buying and also worked in the handbag department in a store in Dublin. She remembers clearly the rush from buying her first designer handbag. Eavan thought one purchase would satisfy her – but as each new designer bag arrived in the shop, her craving only grew.

Eavan knew as much as she wanted more designer creations, her bank balance wouldn’t allow it. Simultaneously, her Masters was teaching her about the effects the fashion industry was having on the environment, and she was trying to juggle being a clothing enthusiast and a conscious consumer. This is how the idea for Luxe Library was born.

Brands: Currently there are over 45 bags available to rent. The brands range from more entry level luxury labels such as Cult Gaia and Hayley Menzies to more aspirational names including Chanel, Dior, Celine and Saint Laurent.

Rental prices: Luxe Library’s aim is for all the weekly rental prices to be 10% or lower of the recommended retail price. Weekly price can start at €15 and ends at €290.

Rental Period: Offers rentals on a weekly (seven days) or monthly (30 days) basis. To return the bag just pop it in the sealed envelope and post it.

Hire By Sandra

Sandra lived in Australia for 12 years and saw firsthand the huge popularity of hiring dresses online. She especially loved renting local designers like Alex Perry and Toni Maticevski, and wanted to bring a taste of Down Under home to Ireland. Sustainability was also high on her agenda as she was very conscious of buying an expensive one-off outfit that sat in the wardrobe for months without getting any use.

By renting, she could be more experimental without the price tag. Sandra finds that most of her customers rent for formal occasions like weddings and family occasions such as christenings and birthday parties.

Brands: Designer dresses from Australian labels Aje, Alemais, L’idee, By Johnny.

Store location: Online. For €15, you can try the items on at home via the post.

Rental prices: €60 to €95 Sizes: 6-12

Who wears Hire By Sandra? Niamh De Brun

Covet Boudoir

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Fifteen years in business, Covet was one of the first outfit hire companies in Ireland. Aleana O’Shea took over the ownership in 2014 and the business has continued to go from strength to strength. Covet’s services include Dress Hire, Dress Sales, Bespoke Design and Alterations.

Store location: Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2.

How does it work? Operate by appointment only. Products: Bridal collection, eveningwear and cocktail styles to hire. Covet can also design bespoke bridesmaid dresses and bridal dresses in house.

Brands: Badgley Mischka, Rachel Gilbert, Tadashi Shoji, Jenny Yoo, Greta Constantine, Covet Collection

Rental prices: €175 to €195 for occasion wear, €500 for bridal wear

Sizes: Covet alter everything in store and aim to cater for all sizes.

Brown Thomas

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Brown Thomas has introduced a rental scheme at their Dundrum branch in Dublin. The rental period lasts from either four, eight or 12 days. You will need to be a Brown Thomas Arnotts loyalty member in order to use the rental service.

How does it work? You pre-book an appointment on their website. Their personal shopping team are on hand to meet with you and help you find the perfect outfit. You can book up to six weeks in advance, right up to midday the day before. Items must be returned to the Services Concierge Desk located on Level -1 – Brown Thomas Dundrum.

Brands: Selection of luxury designer brands and some contemporary favourites.

Prices: Varies from item to item. The rental price is generally 10-30% of the retail price.

Rag Revolution

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Tipperary native Edel Lyons founded Rag Revolution in 2019. She had noticed she had lots of events to go to and started to feel guilty of the one-wear items she was purchasing. Still wanting to be fashionable but without paying the hefty price tag, Edel started looking at the prospect of setting up her own rental business – and has never looked back.

How does it work?: Items are selected online and can be rented over a three-day or seven-day period. Returns are done using the prepaid label.

Based: Online

Brands: RIXO, Queens of Archive, BEC & BRIDGE, ROTATE Birger Christensen and Sister Jane to name but a few.

Prices: Start at €20. For example, a RIXO dress rental would cost about €85.

Who uses Rag Revolution? Roz Purcell to Una Healy.

Follow Danielle Farrelly on Instagram at @theedit.ie

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