Why the conscious fashion set are turning to rental when they want to glam up

By Juliet Herd | 24 Jul 2021 | Culture, Style, Sustainability

Harrods launches partnership with luxury fashion rental service My Wardrobe HQ

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If proof were still needed that renting clothes had become the height of fashion, then the appearance of some of London’s most stylish women in glamorous rental gowns at a gala event last week more than provided it.

The likes of Laura Whitmore, Donna Air, Amber Le Bon and influencer Kelly Eastwood chose to wear designer dresses from luxury fashion rental service My Wardrobe HQ (MWHQ) in partnership with Harrods at a soiree hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall for Elephant Family’s CoExistence campaign.

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To mark its newly launched rental pop-up with MWHQ, the iconic department store curated an exclusive dress edit for guests and donated the rental proceeds to the Elephant Family charity, which works to protect Asian wildlife and its habitat. 

The ‘Starry Night in the Nilgiri Hills’ event at Lancaster House was the finale for the CoExistence campaign, which saw life-sized elephant sculptures exhibited across London in the biggest public environmental art show of the year, to raise funds for grass-roots conservation projects. The singer Cher is one of more than 100 supporters to buy a member of this migratory wooden herd, which includes calves, matriarchs and tuskers.

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Harrods joins other retailers such as Selfridges with its entry into the fashion rental service, through the bespoke pop-up at its Knightsbridge store as well as a curated edit online, allowing customers to shop must-have pieces in a more sustainable and conscious way.

The collection includes more than 1000 statement pieces, ranging from elaborate feathered gowns by Huishan Zang to highly-covetable mini dresses by Rotate, and are available to rent for between four and 14 days from as little as £6 a day. And if you fall in love with one of the pieces, there is also the option to buy it at a more affordable price.

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* Yasmin and Amber Le Bon show off pieces from My Wardrobe at this year's Animal Ball

Harrods’ fashion director Lydia King says the rental partnership will give a new lease of life to collections and stand-out designs that haven’t had the chance to be seen – or worn - during the pandemic. “We are now able to offer our clients a rotating wardrobe of beautiful pieces,” she explains. “I am so proud to present the edit that we have curated, a collection of dresses that can be effortlessly styled for any occasion.”

Describing the collaboration with Harrods as the “perfect partnership”, MWHQ’s co-founder Sacha Newall says: “Harrods has long been associated with luxury and ‘the place to get everything’. This allows the My Wardrobe HQ tech to combine with the fabulous fashion edit at Harrods to maximise the audience for those items and ensure they remain in circulation for as long as possible. This is where sustainability and fashion become one.”

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According to MWHQ’s chair Jane Shepherdson, the fashion rental market is here to stay. “We’re all doing Airbnb and are happy to share people’s beds – so therefore why not share clothes?”

As the Prime Minister’s new wife, Carrie Johnson - who chose to wear a MWHQ-rented ivory tulle and silk dress by Greek designer Christos Costarellos for her recent wedding to Boris - could testify, it certainly represents a huge saving.