Before social media you could buy a dress for a social occasions, such as the Christmas party, and reuse it time and time again, but now many of us are all too aware of being pictured in the ‘same outfit’.
So a new UK-based designer fashion app, called By Rotation, which allows you to borrow clothes from other users, is a handy tool for the new Instagram generation.
With dresses from designers including Oscar De La Renta, shoes from Jimmy Choo and handbags from Chanel you it allows you to borrow outfits without spending thousands on your look.
But considering you have to hand the outfit back when you’ve worn it, might it just be cheaper to invest in a new dress and re-wear it?
Three FEMAIL writers put the fashion lending app to the test to see how much they could save, if the clothes and shoes actually fit them and if it’s worth renting an outfit for a Christmas party or another special occasion,
Bridie, Hayley and Chloe borrowed designer outfits and gave their reviews of how they found the app and experience
UNDER £50 A DAY
‘I felt really uncomfortable in my outfit as the jumpsuit didn’t really fit me around the middle and was a bit loose.
Luna Burgundy Velvet Jumpsuit from Anthropologie
To rent: £18
Retail price: £148
Stella McCartney Strass Black Bag
To rent: £15 a day
Givenchy diamante sling back heels
To rent: £10 a day
TOTAL to borrow: £43
Saving of: £1,150
‘Saying that, I loved the colour and out of all of the outfits I feel like this one is the most versatile and could be reworn for other occasions.
‘The quality of the jumpsuit was great, however it did have a fraying thread, which concerned me a little.
‘The shoes looked a little more worn – and I hadn’t realised they were kitten heels – I’d normally avoid heels like that at all costs!
‘I love the concept of the app and it was very straight forward to use, but the sizing was difficult to predict because the outfits were available in small, medium and large, which tends to differ from shop to shop.
‘As a result, the jumpsuit was far too big and had to be clipped around the back to cinch me in.
‘Overall, the app is a great way to shop on a budget and to help out the environment, but considering the high price tag of the ensemble, I was hoping to feel a bit more special.’
Chloe wasn’t so sure about her Givenchy diamante sling back kitten heels, which cost £10 a day – but are actually worth £450
Chloe borrowed the Stella McCartney Strass bag in black for £15 a day, however it would have set her back £595 if she’d bought it
Chloe borrowed and wore the Givenchy diamante sling back heels, which would set her back £10 a day
Chloe, who wore a Anthropolgie jumpsuit, said that she loved the idea of the app – as it’s a great way to shop on a budget and to help out the environment
‘I’ve had my eye on this dress for a long time. I’ve always loved Rixo but have never been able to justify spending £350 on a dress – which I’m probably only going to wear once.
Under £150 a day
Jimmy Choo Bling Mules
To rent: £45 a day to
The Coco Consellation Rainbow Ombre Midi dress from Rixo
To rent: £15 a day
Chanel clutch bag
To rent: £65 a day
TOTAL to borrow: £125 a day
‘A showstopper like this is perfect to be borrowed, for £15 I had a £375 dress which I’m sure would get a lot of comments (and more importantly Insta likes) if I were to wear it to a Christmas party.
‘It made me feel very glam, and it was a good fit, although I don’t think it was particularly flattering.
‘The only thing that shocked me slightly was the lining, there was definite VPL in the side panels of the dress, as it was a nude colour, which was see through, and I’m sure would only be amplified in night club lighting.
‘The dress was really comfy, but my arm sequins kept getting stuck to my body sequins, which I can imagine would only get worse if I was cutting some shapes!
The only other issue with the dress was that it was very obviously not brand new, and there were panels of missing sequins. It felt more like I’d borrowed a friend’s old dress than ordered a sparkling new one.
‘I would definitely use the app – particularly for a Christmas party, wedding or a special night out. With a dress like this, I’m probably going to take a million pictures in it, but then it doesn’t have too much rewear life – so it’s perfect for renting!’
‘The shoes, however were too small, even though I went a size up! It may have been a mistranslation in Italian-British sizes and I could still fit into them, but they gave me a toe cleavage which didn’t look great.’
‘As much as it’s a dream to wear Jimmy Choos, I think I’d probably stick to clothes, and maybe the odd standout accessory, because I don’t have much issue rewearing shoes – they’re not usually the hero piece of an outfit.’
‘I did find the app a little tricky to use, trying to figure out what dates and what times they’d be needed and how much it would cost, in total, was confusing.
‘My personal style is quite bold, and I love bright colours and funky patterns, so I tend to buy dresses that are stand-out, and either wear them too much or not enough. So this would be a great way to stop clothes languishing in my wardrobe unused.’
Bridie (pictured) admitted that she has always loved Rixo, but she’s never been able to justify spending £350 on a dress. Pictured in the borrowed Coco Consellation Rainbow Ombre Midi dress from Rixo
Bridie also matched her bright dress with a black Chanel clutch bag, which costs £65 a day to borrow, but is worth £2300
The black patent heels, with a diamante strap from cost Birdie £45 a day to borrow, but are worth £795
Bridie said she found the app a little tricky to use but loved her dress from Rixo as her personal style is ‘quite bold’
£250 FOR THE DAY
‘It’s probably the first and last time I’ll get to wear an Oscar de la Renta gown (unless I head to the app and pay £160 a day again!) so I was very excited to slip it on and felt like a celeb – minus the fact I couldn’t quite get the zip up the whole way at the back (as you can see in some of the photos).
£250 a day
Oscar de la Renta sequin gown
To rent: £160 a day
Valentino Rock stud leather heels
To rent: £15 a day
Alexander McQueen skull box clutch bag
To rent: £60 a day
Loveness Lee Earrings
£15 a day
TOTAL to borrow: £250 a day
‘I think that would be my biggest concern about using the clothes rental app. What if you get it and it doesn’t fit?
‘The vague sizing guide (small, medium, large) means for someone like me, who’s an 8 in one shop and a 10 in another, is torn over which one to go for.
‘I probably could have yanked the zip up if I’d really gone for it, but given it’s not my dress (and has an eye-watering retail value of £6,500!) I didn’t want to take the risk of breaking it.
‘There were a few sequins and beads missing on close inspection, but in general it was in brilliant condition, as per the description on the app.
It’s perfect for a black tie event – I’d feel like Kate Middleton rocking up to my Christmas party in this. I probably would pay £160 to rent the dress for its wow factor – and make sure I took a ton of photos!
‘I also loved the shoes – Valentino, again a designer I’ve never been able to afford before – and these were a perfect fit and very comfortable, costing £15 a day to rent (compared to £650 to buy). Though they were in such good nick I was scared about scuffing them.
‘I chose the £1,250 Alexander McQueen clutch bag because I thought it would go with my dress and I loved how it featured a bejewelled skull on the fastener. I think it would certainly get a few comments if I took it out with me – however, it was smaller than I expected, after seen it on the app.
‘The earrings were also stunning, although very heavy – which I would have known had I been able to hold them in a shop. I’m not sure I’d have lasted all night in them.
Hayley loved the Oscar de la Renta gown, which made her feel like a celebrity, despite not quite being able to zip it all the way up
Hayley chose to pair her dress with an Alexanda McQueen skull box clutch bag, which she borrowed for £60 a day and worth £1250
Hayley went all out and looked stunning in the Black Oscar de la Renta sequin strapless gown – which was £160 a day to rent via the app, but worth £6500 if she had splashed out on it
Hayley borrowed these Valentino shoes and said that they were a perfect fit and very comfortable – they cost £15 a day to rent (compared to £650 to buy)
Hayley also borrowed the Loveness Lee Earrings for £15 a day, however if she had bought them she would have paid £245
‘It did feel a bit weird wearing a pair of ‘rented’ earrings, especially when you can’t even return earrings to a shop. I guess you could sterilise them before you wore them.
‘In fact I’d hope anyone who rented them did this afterwards, but you never know!
‘I’d definitely be tempted to use the app, but it would probably work out quite costly because I’d want to rent items for a few days to ensure they fit – and give me time to find an alternative if not.
‘I’d be more inclined to spend big on the dress, but probably use my own accessories.
‘I found the app simple to navigate and I like the fact you can save items, which makes it easy to visually put an outfit together.’
How does the By Rotation app work?
- Renters and lenders need to set up a profile, including a photo, location and description about yourself. You’ll also be asked to use verification software to identity who you are.
- If you want to borrow an item you can contact the seller and see if its available and how long they’re happy for you to have it.
- If you are borrowing an outfit a rental starts from the day you receive it to the day you send it back.
- The outfits can be sent via Royal Mail or a delivery service.
- If you want to hire your own clothes out you’re encouraged to add photos of the product and as much detail as possible. Some lenders make up to £600 a month on the app
Eshita Kabra-Davies, who started the app (pictured) in October, said she was inspired to create it when she was planning her honeymoon and wanted to wear nice outfits for the trip, but felt it was too wasteful to purchase new items just for a holiday
Eshita Kabra-Davies, who started the app in October, said she was inspired to create it when she was planning her honeymoon and wanted to wear nice outfits for the trip, but felt it was too wasteful to purchase new items just for a holiday.
‘I started looking into fashion rental (and the lack of options) in the UK after discussing with my sister, a Rent the Runway (RTR) subscriber, in the US. I wanted to take the concept a step further by exploring the potential of renting from people directly – like a Fat Llama or Airbnb for mid to luxury fashion.
‘I wanted to build a community of individuals who could access quality and designer fashion at a fraction of its retail price, while also building awareness of the wasteful fast fashion industry.
‘We want to convince people to share quality fashion, rather than buy single-use fashion items on the high street that usually end up in landfills within the year of purchase.’
The app, which currently has 4200 users, also has ID verification, on-demand delivery, eco-friendly cleaning solutions and protection against damage and loss.
While Eshita, who uses the app herself and makes around £450 a month renting out outfits, went on to say: ‘It’s a very exciting time for us as a leader in the fashion rental space – we are raising awareness and dialogue about the problems of fast fashion.’
By Rotation, the UK’s first fashion rental app is available to download on the iTunes store.