You know change is coming to the fashion industry when you hear a clothing rental firm is valued a little under $800m. It got rolling 10 years ago in New York and is now cleaning and clearing (processing) 2000 items per hour for delivery across the USA. These guys always had a vision beyond “wedding dress hire” they truly wanted to empower women. They set up their first distribution “plant” in their local dry-cleaners!

Typically their customers identify they can invest in really good quality, long lasting basics and undergarments and pay the $89 a month to choose their wardrobe of choice every month.  Having the most amazing wardrobe, yet never owning any of it.

This process is doing more than saving local landfill. This process is ensuring that RTR (Rent-The-Runway) only buys really good quality garments that last, that are easy care.  This knock-on effect is making brands pay more attention to the quality of their production – making things last, means less waste.

If this is the future for fashion retail, what’s happening in the UK?  We have a long history (at least more in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK), with “Kilt Hire” companies on every high street from Dumfries to Elgin. Beyond staples for eveningwear and weddings what else is there for a working wardrobe? 

The few I found:

My Wardrobe HQ


By Rotation

The Endless Wardrobe

Girl Meets Dress

These are all special occasion, nights out services, rather than “working wardrobe”, which, I would argue, is where the real money is for RTR. Plus they are typically asking for an amount based on a garment rather than an enticing subscription amount that you could choose a number of items for.

This looks like an opportunity for someone to pick up on in the UK, or do you know a service I might have missed?

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