The Rise And Rise Of Rental Fashion In Australia

More and more Aussies are hiring -- not buying -- their clothes. Here's why.

According to ABS stats, Australians are the second highest clothes shoppers (after North Americans) consuming an average of 27 kilos a year. Thing is, we then throw out 23 kilos -- most of which ends up in landfill.

That all comes at a price, both to our wallets and the environment.

A possible solution to our expensive -- and wasteful -- fashion habit? Rental fashion.

We're not talking about the stuffy, sweaty and stained formal wear of yesteryear. These days you can hire everything from designer dresses, shoes, handbags and more -- all on-trend and for a fraction of the retail price, too.

Fashion rental companies are making designer fare available to everyone -- not just celebs, fashionistas or the uber-wealthy. Image: Getty.

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The majority of the shops are online-only and operate like any normal e-retailer like ASOS or The Iconic. You pick out a dress -- for your friend's wedding, say -- and have it sent to your door, freshly dry-cleaned and ready for you to wear in the next few days.

Once you're done (and snapped as many Insta shots as you like) you simply package it up and send it back, ready for the next person to take it for a spin.

Odette Chiha, 28, from Sydney's Inner West told 10 daily that she's hired about four 'special occasion' dresses from fashion rental sites.

"I do it because it's convenient but I also don't want to spend $500 to $1,000 on a designer dress -- I'd rather spend $150 to $250 to hire it," she said.

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Chiha explained pressure from social media to always wear something new, different and exxy plays a big part in her decision to use fashion rental sites.

"Everyone is scrolling through everyone's outfits. I always think twice before posting photos of what I'm wearing. 'Have I worn this outfit before? Does it look good on me?'" she said.

While it seems more and more sites pop up every few months -- GlamCorner, Tumnus and Your Closet are just a few -- as per usual, the US is streets ahead of us.

New York City-based designer clothing and accessory rental site Rent the Runway, for example, launched a decade ago. Today it's valued at a whopping $1.4 billion.

One Aussie outfit where business is booming is Sydney-based Fashion Confidential, which rents out a range of luxury handbags for less than 10 percent of their retail price.

The business was founded by Beth Tutty and her husband, who came up with the idea after suggesting that she rent out her extensive personal collection.

"We were inspired by sustainable fashion and recycling -- and allowing people access to these sorts of luxury brands, "Tutty told 10 daily.

Rest assured, Tutty's handbags are still in her wardrobe. Instead, the couple has invested in pieces from lust-worthy brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel.

"We buy several pieces a month. Sometimes it's something I personally love or it's something we know our customer will love -- there's no exact science to it," she said.

At the moment, Tutty told 10 daily that customers are going mad for anything by designers Gucci and YSL.

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As for the customers themselves, she said they vary widely in age and financial status. What they value highly is quality and discretion.

"Nobody needs to know it's a rental piece. Every piece is in immaculate condition -- if I won't be seen out with it, it won't go out to a client."

Since launching a year ago, Fashion Confidential has grown month on month and while their main focus is on handbags and wallets they hope to eventually expand to include other accessories, such as men's briefcases and other unisex pieces.

Feature image: Getty.