My Wardrobe HQ at Liberty London

It wouldn't be so outlandish to argue that the luxury rental initiatives that have just opened at Liberty London and Selfridges are a result of the 2008 economic crisis. The UK may no longer be in a recession, but rather than ‘austerity’ ending, the idea that homeownership is out of reach has been turned it into an aesthetic.

It is a world where minimalism reigns, ownership has become passé and not buying things is now a direct reflection on your moral worth(iness) #BuyLessBuyBetter.

HURR Collective at Selfridges

Now we take part in a ‘sharing economy’. You can drive to the park to go for a walk in the rain with a dog without actually owning a pet (BorrowMyDoggy), a car (Turo) or an umbrella (UmbraCity). And fashion is not immune to this. Rental initiatives such as Cocoon, My Wardrobe HQ and HURR Collective have all emerged as part of this new landscape.

It is a move away from trend-driven low-priced fast-fashion, to a model where customers can still experience the thrill of ~a new thing~, but without the commitment (and shame) of having that thing somewhere in the back of their wardrobes. It is both a concession to and a reaction against the wear-once-and-done approach of Instagram’s #OOTD.

HURR Collective at Selfridges

Following on from their Depop and Vestiare Collective pop-ups, Selfridges has partnered with HURR Collective to offer a curated range of 200 pieces from the HURR website. Victoria Prew, the co-founder and CEO of HURR, believes that the rental model is part of a wider trend: “We’ve seen consumer behaviours change significantly in recent years as we move towards access based models for houses, holidays and cars,” she says, “and now we are seeing the same with our wardrobes.”

The available stock will rotate on a weekly basis with specially curated edits for London Fashion Week, Valentine’s Day and the holidays available to rent for either four or eight days. For Prew, rental fashion is about “creating accessibility and a route to luxury fashion for a mainstream market.” As well as moving towards a circular economy and “driving positive long-lasting change in how the lifespan of a garment is viewed.”

My Wardrobe HQ at Liberty London

Tina Lake, the co-founder and New Business Director of My Wardrobe HQ, believes that not only is rental fashion “more sustainable” but that it is also “more fun - it makes you more adventurous with your fashion choices.” She has partnered with Liberty London to create a MWHQ pop-up in their Great Marlborough street store.

The collaboration came about when she was speaking to her friend Madeline Macey (who just happens to be Liberty London’s Chief Marketing Officer) about the future of fashion.

My Wardrobe HQ at Liberty London

Lake believes that the ability to rent luxury fashion will only “enhance their consumer offer. It will broaden the demographic and see a marked increase in footfall as this wider audience has more access to the luxury brands on offer.”

And with access to dresses by designers like Emilia Wickstead and Celine for only £29 a day, or an Anya Hindmarch bag from £10, frankly it would be ridiculous for the sartorially aware not to take advantage.

HURR Collective will be in the Contemporary Studio at Selfridges in Marylebone for the next six months.

My Wardrobe HQ will be at Liberty London on Great Marlborough Street from 11th February to 31st March.