"The Future of Fashion is a Rented Dress" was the headline of a Bloomberg opinion piece published in March 2019—a decade after a slew of luxury clothing rental services were introduced in the U.S. By last year, the service branched out even to fast fashion brands, as clothing rental subscriptions for companies like Express and American Eagle Outfitters were launched.
The trend has become so successful that it has gone beyond fashion capitals like New York and Paris, as even Manila now has its own list of clothing rental services. In the last two years, Filipino fashion girls have been spoiled by a number of online services that promise new designer outfits at a fraction of the cost. That these services became available just as fashion’s impact to the environment became an even more pressing issue to everyone everywhere, is even better news.
Below are some services you may tap as you scrounge for new pieces to add to your outfit for a special occasion even for as somewhere as mundane as the workplace.
It’s not surprising that the first fashion items to be made available for rentals in Manila are the ones that get a more expensive price tag in-stores: gowns. After all, how often do you need them anyway? RSVP is one of the first to make this service available in the Philippines as it aims to allow girls to "wear things once without regret every single time."
To stay true to this promise, it partnered with local designers like Sassa Jimenez, Martin Bautista and Vania Romoff who have committed to consigning their runway pieces and archived samples to the company’s closet. Clients may book an appointment to RSVP’s studio to allow them to try on these items, with each session made even more special and personal by the team’s in-house stylists.
Founded by the stylist to the stars, Pam Quiñones, Vestido Manila will certainly make you feel every bit of a celebrity with a clothing collection that seems to be straight out of a fashionista’s closet. It has Alaïa shoes, a Charina Sarte suit from last season, and even some Chanel pieces that only some can dream to own to name a few. Clients can easily scroll through the items for lease on its website, which has meticulously categorized its 500+ items for every occasion—from daywear to weddings. Starting at P2199, clients may rent a piece of clothing for four days.
3. QR Manila
Perhaps one of the most reasonably priced on this list is QR Manila’s service, as clients can rent fast-fashion pieces for as low as P300. Truly not bad for cocktail dresses that can start a conversation in any night out. Still, those who would want something fancier can also take their Zimmermann dresses for a special event, but that can set you back for at least P8000. QR Manila doesn’t require much from clients too, as one can rent any of their items with just a simple DM on their Instagram account.
The newest local entrant to the world of clothes rental is Basically Borrowed. The service like its predecessors, allows their items to be borrowed for a certain time for a fee. But if the client finds herself falling in love with the piece, she can just purchase it too. One thing clients would enjoy may perhaps be the wider range of selection as it has more items on the fast fashion side. Since its launch, it has also regularly featured closets of Manila’s most fashionable like photographer Shaira Luna and media icon Myrza Sison, both of whom have shared some of their clothing to the platform.
While this list is dominated by Manila’s clothing rental services, it feels appropriate to give credit to the brand that started the trend—Rent the Runway. The New York-based startup disrupted the cycle of fast fashion shopping habits of most in the US, long before the talk around fashion’s destructive practices became headline stories through a subscription service for clothes rental. For as low as $89 (approximately P4500) a month, its subscribers can rent four designer pieces, which then may be delivered to their doorsteps. The company has become so revolutionary it joined the Unicorn club or the elite group of startups valued at over a billion dollars just last year.