HANDBAGS FOR HIRE: IS RENTING THE FUTURE?

The fashion industry has been making a conscious effort to become ‘greener’, as demand for sustainable fashion among consumers increases. One of the ways brands are implementing sustainability is by introducing rental schemes where consumers can rent goods rather than buying them. This reduces the amount of overconsumption in fashion and gives the opportunity for repurposing and reusing items. An article by Elle said that, according to Global Data “the UK rental market is expected to grow more than fivefold to £2.3bn by 2029 from an estimated £400m last year”. Rental is therefore, something we should all be thinking about in terms of our future shopping habits.

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There are a number of companies that offer the service of renting fashion such as BagButler, My Wardrobe HQ and By Rotation (Elle described By Rotation as a rental version of Depop). Renting has become particularly popular with regards to designer handbags. The companies vary in how long you can rent for, with some offering up to 14 days and others having monthly loans. The prices also vary depending on which designer brand you are interested in. For example, brands such as Dior and Chanel are more expensive to rent than Coach and Lulu Guinness.

There are many benefits to renting a designer handbag-

Prices from the website of My Wardrobe HQ

1. Affordability

With renting, consumers now have the ability to wear designer handbags without paying the expensive retail price. It is luxury made more affordable to consumers who have less disposable income. What was originally unattainable for a consumer is now possible as consumers can hire a bag for just a day or a special occasion.

2. Try Before You Buy

Influencer La Dame Bohème talked about the BagButler company, saying “It’s like Netflix for purses”, with new bags being added onto the platform all the time. Consumers may feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of handbag choices available so they can rent a bag to get a proper feel for how it would work for them in terms of style and size etc before they buy.

Consumers can also have the safety of trying something new without having to commit to it. For example, consumers may wish to wear the latest trend or ‘it bag’ but find it doesn’t actually suit them, or they don’t like it after a few months.

3. Temporary To Fit Current Lifestyle

Renting has become a favourite method among fashion bloggers, influencers and celebrities, as they can show they are remaining on-trend each season. Rather than investing in one bag, they can adapt to new season trends and season ‘it bags’. Celebrities such as Poppy Delevinge have been spotted wearing rented designer bags.

Influencers and celebrities can also use rental services to better match their bag to each individual outfit, like you can see in the photos above. Influencers can even exploit rental services, renting various bags to give the appearance they live a luxury lifestyle.

4. It’s More Sustainable

By choosing to rent a handbag, you are ultimately extending the lifecycle of that product. The original owner no longer seeing a use for the bag, could have just thrown it away. Therefore, you are saving a product from going to waste or being thrown at the back of a wardrobe to never be used again. Sources also suggest that renting is helping consumers to stop buying so frequently, by causing them to look at what is already in their wardrobe and see what they really need.

Despite the numerous benefits of renting rather than buying designer handbags, there are of course drawbacks to using these platforms. If a product is damaged, you are completely liable and have to more often than not, pay the full retail price of the handbag. This can be extremely costly if you have rented the latest ‘it’ bag that costs £4,000. (Hopefully insurance companies will start catering to these services and cover some of the cost!). Otherwise, these services are worth looking into, as they are a great sustainable alternative to the buying of designer handbags. If you own a designer handbag that you no longer use, you can put the handbag up for rent on one of these sites and even earn some money from it.

Would you rent a designer handbag? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclaimer- Photos are not my own and are sourced from My Wardrobe HQ and instagrams of the influencers. Cover photo is sourced from Pinterest.