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Burberry launches rental service as more than two thirds of UK shoppers plan to hire party outfits this Christmas

Burberry's famous trench is now part of the circular economy

Burberry is set to launch a clothing rental scheme as research suggests that this Christmas as many as two third of people are planning to rent party clothes.

Burberry will be renting a range of its staples, including its signature trench coat, for up to 14 days via My Wardrobe HQ. It is working with the Smart Works charity – which provides high quality interview clothes and coaching for unemployed women – by donating 40% of each rental to the charity.

Pam Batty, VP of corporate responsibility at Burberry, says: “Supporting the principles of a more circular economy is key in achieving our ambition to be climate positive by 2040.”

Burberry’s move into rental comes as research by into the attitudes of UK shoppers to hiring garments finds that more than two thirds of UK consumers (69%) state that they would use rental services for special occasions such as the upcoming festive season, up from 38% of UK consumers who have hired previously. 

Sustainability is the leading factor for those who’ll use a rental service. A third (33%) of shoppers say it helps keep the feelings of guilt over fast fashion at bay, as they worry about the environmental impact of the industry. The fear of outfit repeating is real for 16% of shoppers who prefer renting as it eases their shame over wearing an outfit only once.    

When it comes to the brands that are set to be rented the most this party season, Gucci comes out on top. Consumers listed the Italian luxury fashion house as their most-desired, with almost a third of renters ranking them number one (30%). 

Fear of judgement

While the proportion of people set to rent clothes has risen, a number of consumers are still sceptical. More than one in three (34%) refuse to hire because the thought of pre-worn clothing grosses them out. 

However, hygiene isn’t the only barrier: the fear of damaging clothes is enough to put close to a quarter of shoppers (23%) off the idea. Additionally, 21% are too embarrassed by the thought of others finding out they have rented rather than bought and potentially judging them. 

For those who opt to buy over rent, the data shows Brits spend £204.36 on three new outfits each year for special occasions such as Christmas parties and weddings, and an alarming 12% will only wear an outfit once. 

Men are prepared to spend more getting ‘suited and booted’ on their perfect outfits at £76 per every brand-new look, versus the £61 spent by women. On the other hand, when it comes to renting their attire, Brits are willing to lay out £45 per outfit on average, costing them 35% less than buying a whole new look. 

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at comments: “With Christmas parties firmly back on the agenda for the first time since 2019, many people will already be thinking about what they are going to wear over the festive season.”

She continues: “With climate change front of mind for many of us, it’s no surprise that environmental concerns caused by the fashion industry are leading more people than ever to consider hiring outfits on special occasions, such as this Christmas.”

Naik says: “There is an ever-growing roster of rental sites such as Hurr, Onloan and By Rotation offering popular luxury brands like Gucci, Calvin Klein and Armani for a tiny fraction of the price of their retail costs. It’s great to see high street stores, such as Marks & Spencer, now getting in on the action too.”

She concludes: “Christmas is the perfect time of year to consider renting a bold party look you’d only wear once, whether it’s sequins, bold colours, glitter or feathers, renting can offer the perfect way to embrace party dressing in a way that’s guilt-free and kind to your bank balance.” 

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