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WHAT TO WEAR TO A SUMMER WEDDING THIS YEAR

Last week an article in the independent outlined what to wear to a wedding, and featured a section on fashion sustainability – mentioning Girl Meets Dress as a great option for wedding guest dresses. Read the article below or click here >

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/summer-wedding-2019-what-to-wear-trends-hat-shoes-suit-a8891391.html

It’s a tricky thing, being a wedding guest.

Among the endless list of requirements – buy a present, arrange accommodation, practise your small talk – there’s one obligation that trumps them all in terms of effort: fix up and look sharp.

The rules surrounding wedding guest dressing are as nuanced as they come.

There are some obvious musts – avoiding white is always a good idea – and others that are only acknowledged by serial wedding-goers, such as steering clear of stilettos unless you enjoy the feeling of numbness in your feet.

In the summer, things get even more complicated. Not only do you have to find a sweat-free way to “dress to the nines”, but you have to strike the right balance between playful sunshine garb and formal occasionwear. This forces you to ask difficult questions, such as “Is this wrap dress more ‘I do’ or ‘BBQ?’” and “Does this hat make me look like a chic French woman, or a dishevelled bird?”

It’s no mean feat, so here’s our handy guide to summer wedding guest dressing, with tips from industry experts on the trends and colours you need to know about this season .

 The dress

A ubiquitous summertime staple, a silky maxi dress is the perfect companion to any sun-kissed celebration, and weddings are no different. As predictable as it may be, this summer’s wedding guest dresses are bright and floral-heavy, explains Emily Gordon-Smith, director of consumer product at trends intelligence company Stylus. “This year, wedding attire is mirroring key themes from the spring/summer 2019 catwalks,” she tells The Independent, which were awash with sprightly pinks (Erdem, Valentino, Molly Goddard) and beguiling yellows (Moschino, Escada, Boss).

As for patterns, gowns were in full bloom at Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi to name but a few. The florals in question aren’t from your average carefully colour-coordinated flowerbed, either. This season’s flower fun packs a punch, with bold, brash and clashing styles creating an intricate visual feast.

Hemlines are a matter of personal preference. While Emmy Scarterfield of wedding boutique, Emmy London tells The Independent that longer length dresses will lead the way this summer, a spokesperson for luxury womenswear label Madderson London warns not to dismiss midi and knee-length styles, all of which can garner a sense of occasion with the addition of special details, such as feature sleeves, flounces or ruffles.

Rixo, Ganni, Galvan and Kitri Studio are all reliable labels for this.

The shoes

Your choice of footwear very much depends on the venue, says Robin Weil, founder and CEO of Weddingplanner.co.uk, the UK’s leading wedding planner site.

“The impact of whether the wedding is on sand, grass or concrete will affect the choice of shoes,” he tells The Independent. In other words, if it’s a beach wedding, you probably don’t want to turn up tottering around in spiked stilettos. Nor should you, if you want to be on trend, says Gordon-Smith, who explains that 1990s-inspired styles are set to surge this season – think kitten heels, mules and strappy sandals.

Lalage Beaumont, whose namesake label is famous for its occasionwear, adds that block heels are ideal for a summer wedding. “Chances are, you’ll be standing up for a while, so you will be much more comfortable”.

The hat

When occasion hats were once considered a sartorial archaism bound to stiff 18th century soirées, the recent resurgence of headwear (sales are up by 250 per cent on luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter in the last year) has brought them back into the spotlight.

But don’t just go for any old saucer, bespoke milliner Jane Taylor insists that finding the right material is key. “Felt is only for the winter and from May onwards, straw or sinamay should be worn,” she tells The Independent.

“You can also wear crepe or hats made from most fabrics all year round.” If you’re cashing in on the floral trend with your outfit, Taylor suggests keeping the hat as simple as possible when it comes to design and colour.

The suit

Sharp tailoring was a prominent feature on the spring/summer 2019 catwalks, with eye-popping iterations at Gabriela Hearst, Emporio Armani, Roksanda and perennial souped-up suiters, Gucci. “Coloured trouser suits are a major trend this summer,” says Gordon-Smith. “These soft, mannish two pieces look best in true brights or pastels and can be paired with flats or heels.”

Taylor adds that splashes of pastels, royal blue and coral (Pantone’s colour of 2019) are among the most popular hues for tailored garb this season, with many of the wide-legged options taking their inspiration from 1970’s styles. But don’t let the suiting fun stop there, skirt suits are also making a comeback.

The sustainability

As sustainable fashion continues to occupy an important space in the industry (global shopping platform Lyst has seen a 66 per cent increase in searches for the term since 2018), look to sourcing your wedding season garb in second-hand or vintage outlets where possible, suggests Gordon-Smith.

“Second-hand designer consignment sites such as The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective are great for a more ethical designer buy-in, extending the life cycle of a product rather than buying brand new,” she explains.

Hiring your outfit is another option, with mass and mid-market options such as HIRESTREET, Girl Meets Dress and Hire Studio providing the eco-conscious shopper with ample choice.


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Press: Luxury for sale: four high-end clothes rentals to look out for

This week we were feature in a Euro news about fashion rental.

Read the whole article here or below >

 

“Want a chic new look for a special occasion but not keen on the environmental impact buying new clothes brings? Perhaps high-end clothes rental services could be the answer. Here, we round up the best services guaranteed to make you dazzle and improve your green credentials.

Fast fashion are dirty words nowadays. Where once we bought new outfits with impunity, today it’s all about buying less and crucially making more considered choices about where and who we buy from.

For those who love a new look, charity shops, vintage stalls and swap meets where fashionistas trade their old threads, offer a swift solution: for a fraction of the price of an off-the-peg outfit, you can support a worthwhile cause by picking up some preloved and potentially one-off pieces. And then there’s the environmental brownie points too; the reduction in waste and resourcefulness that repurposing old items brings.

Preloved and potentially one-off pieces

But that’s not the only way. ”

Not only does it cut down on wardrobe space, it provides the opportunity to try new looks from aspirational brands at a snip of the price of the full-priced product. Already a trend in the US and more and more so in China after social influencer Jiang Chacha fronted rental platform YCloset’s campaign to drive subscriber uptake, hiring clothes offers a refreshed wardrobe in a greener way.

If you want a silk wrap dress for an interview, there’ll be a site for it. A maxi dress for a summer wedding? It can be arranged. And even if you need a new casual look, more and more platforms are branching out into everyday wear.

So before you head to the high street, why not try one of these brands. Here, we look at four of the best brands offering a sustainable fashion fix.

 

Girl Meets Dress

A relative old-timer on the renting block, Girl Meets Dress was founded a decade ago by former Hermes publicist Anna Bance, who saw a gap in the market for a clothes hire service. Once on the site, take your pick from Victoria Beckham dresses, Alexander McQueen styles and Stella McCartney classics and then choose your subscription package.

 

Nothing to wear

Founded by Cyrine Allani Joaristi, Nothing to wear is passionate about sustainable fashion. Aghast with the disposable nature of fashion, Cyrine, who used to work for Christian Dior Couture, set up the designer rental service as an alternative to buying an outfit for a one-off occasion never to be worn again.

The result is her hiring service in which chic pieces can be loaned for four or eight days, giving just enough time to be worn and enjoyed at weddings, parties and gatherings.

Look out or Chanel classics, as well as pieces by Miu Miu and Christian Lacroix, as well as a whole host of other designers. You can even rent bridal gowns, as well as the usual evening dresses and bags. And for those with a bulging wardrobe full of outfits that no longer see the light of day, you can have your wardrobe assessed and start earning money loaning out your pieces on the site. The company will then pay the renter a percentage of the price of the outfit every time it is rented out. A win all round.

Front Row

A London-only service, Front Row is as high-end as it gets. Come here for pieces by up-and-coming designers before everyone starts coveting their threads or hunt out timeless looks from established houses including Chanel, Fendi, Jenny Packham and Roland Mouret. As well as picking out a capsule holiday wardrobe, you can also browse trending outfits and rent the site’s most popular items.

MUD Jeans

Finding a perfect pair of jeans can feel like a Herculean task at times but MUD Jeans could just win over eco-conscious fashionistas with their innovative leasing initiative.

Made from virgin organic cotton and the recycled cotton from old jeans, the company rent out their jeans for a one-off €29 fee, plus €7.50 a month for 12 months. Once the year is up, you can decide whether to keep the jeans or to trade them in for a new pair – in which case your previous pair will be repaired or recycled.

Another bonus is that MUD are part of the Fair Wear Foundation which seek to treat garment workers fairly and improve working standards. The company are transparent about their ambition to build on and better the conditions for the people who work on their products and encourage shoppers to learn more about the story behind their denims.”

Words: Keeley Bolger


Analysis: Where do retailers stand in the rental revolution?

This week, Retail Week published a feature about the current rental market, including quotes from our Founder Anna.

Read the whole Retail Week article here, or below >

 

“Across many sectors, consumers are shunning buying in favour of renting products. Against this backdrop, where do retailers stand?

Instead of buying a record, we stream our music through Spotify. Rather than purchasing a car, many of us are content with relying on Zipcar for occasional road trips or booking a cab on Uber.

DVDs have been disregarded in favour of gorging boxsets on Netflix. As the sharing economy has boomed over the past decade, so too has consumers’ preference for renting over ownership.

This kind of behaviour is on an upward trajectory and is infiltrating many sectors, including furniture and clothing.

“Part of the reason behind the slightly different model of consumption is that many households lead much more transient lifestyles,” says Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. “They move regularly and don’t necessarily want to buy stuff like furniture as it’s too much of a hassle to transport it when they change where they live.”

Ikea’s rental experiment

Whether it’s down to our more transient nature, economic necessity or our desire to lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles, this shift in mindset is causing retailers to sit up and take notice.

Enter Ikea. Last month the retailer revealed plans to lease furniture, starting with office furniture such as desks and chairs to business customers in Switzerland, as part of a wider company strategy to create a fully circular business by 2030.

A spokeswoman for parent company Ingka Group says: “We have an ambition to inspire and enable people to play an active role in making the circular economy a reality, which we can support by developing new ways for people to buy, care for and pass on products.”

Ikea isn’t the only furniture retailer making inroads into this burgeoning space. This month West Elm revealed plans to partner with Rent the Runway, a clothing rental service in the US, to offer a selection of pillows, blankets and covers to rent to the site’s 10 million customers.

Launching this summer, customers will be able to choose how long they keep the product and receive a discounted rate if they decide to keep it.

Does this mean renting furniture will become the norm? Harth, a London-based website which launched last year and offers rentable furniture, home décor and art from brands, designers and artists, is hoping so.

“All around the world people are experiencing a similar feeling of having had enough of ‘stuff’ and coming to the realisation that owning things can weigh us down, both physically and mentally,” says Harth co-founder Henrietta Thompson.

“We’re also getting worried about landfill and sweatshops and the growing population, among other things. We are starting to place real value in experiences, and renting gives us a lot more options there.”

Thompson says customers come to Harth for a variety of reasons: it might be a practical solution for a short-term need; they might desire a major statement piece; or they simply fancy a seasonal refresh. But with most people accustomed to owning rather than renting furniture, how difficult is it to change consumers’ behaviour?

“The interiors industry is definitely a very slow-moving and traditional one, but it’s not completely immune to change,” argues Thompson. “Already we’re noticing that people are much more receptive to the concept than they were even just six months ago. And although our approach is still very unique there are more and more brands getting into this space now.”

However, WGSN senior editor Petah Marian believes renting furniture requires a shift in attitude to really take off and also questions the practicality of multiple ownership. “There’s the issue of what happens if an item is knocked around a bit. It’ll require a change in how the product is made. It will need to be designed for longevity and durability.”

Clothes rental

Of course, across some sectors, renting is nothing new. Men regularly hire suits and tuxedos for weddings, events and work, and over the past decade, we’ve seen a wave of online companies renting designer clothes to women.

This is a growth area. Allied Market Research predicts that the global online clothing rental market is set to jump from $1bn in 2017 to $1.9bn by 2023.

Anna Bance set up Girl Meets Dress, which offers access to 4,000 designer dresses and accessories from more than 200 designers for a fraction of the price, in 2009.

“Designer clothing is expensive and a notoriously poor long-term investment and it can lead to a wardrobe full of things you never wear but spent too much on to give away en masse,” says Bance.

“The topic of fashion sustainability is increasingly in the headlines. People are becoming more ethically aware of their environmental footprint. But Girl Meets Dress made it accessible and sustainable.”

But what does it mean for the brands which potentially lose a customer spending at least five times as much at full price?

Bance argues that brands view Girl Meets Dress as “one of their biggest allies” as they’re introducing them to a new customer. “90% of our customers are trying a brand for the first time when they rent with Girl Meets Dress.

“They start renting £900 dresses and they develop that brand affinity early. We hook them.  We also get approached by lots of smaller new brands, launching a collection and wanting the feedback.”

Alibaba certainly thinks clothing rental is the future. The online giant has invested in Chinese clothing sharing platform Ycloset and US market leader Rent the Runway.

Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 and today has 10 million members and five physical stores. Last year it turned over $100m and is valued at $800m.

Rent the Runway chief revenue officer Anushka Salinas says: “When Rent The Runway launched, we were in the business of helping women get dressed for the most important special occasions in their lives, like weddings, formal events, baby showers – events that would happen around five times a year. Now, our most engaged subscriber is wearing a rental 120 days a year.

“Rental has shifted from being a convenient solution for special events to a true utility changing the way she gets dressed every day.”

To make the process of renting even more convenient, last autumn the retailer launched standalone drop-off boxes across the lobbies of 15 WeWork spaces.

Salinas believes that in the future up to 80% of the wardrobe will be owned while the rest will be rented. “We want our customer to purchase their wardrobe staples like a leather jacket, white button-down shirt and trusted flats from our brand partners and rent the trendy, bold and patterned pieces from us,” she says. “This allows women to experience the endless variety they crave, without the need to buy items they will wear only once or twice.”

Can rental work at lower price points?

If the future is rental, how will that impact retailers? Some are keen to dive in. Young fashion retailer Little Mistress plans to launch a renting service by the end of the year.

“It’ll be a VIP range featuring red-carpet-style garments with a price tag of £300-plus for a £50 hire fee,” says Mark Ashton, founder and chief executive of Little Mistress Group. Is he concerned that it may cannibalise sales?

“It’s a different proposition,” he says, pointing to the fact that products are of higher value. “And if it impacts sales then so be it, but I do believe this customer will hire up to six to eight times per year where she would have only bought one to two dresses over the same period. In time it will prove profitable in many areas and will breed returning customers.”

While Ashton is targeting a more high-end market, analysts are unconvinced that rental will work across lower price points. “People want to rent more of an expensive item,” Marian says. “I could see it working at Whistles level, for instance, but whether it would work at lower high street level I’m not sure it would be cost effective.”

Saunders believes that renting works best across two areas. First, categories where people only want to use a product for a limited amount of time and so don’t want to commit to buying it. “This means products like DIY tools, high-end clothing, jewellery and such are all prime candidates for rental,” he explains.

“Secondly, big-ticket items that people don’t want to buy outright because of the expense or because they don’t need them for the long term. This means areas like furniture will probably see more renting over the next few years. What works less well is everyday items like basic apparel or simple homewares.”

Still, Saunders is cautious about retailers throwing themselves into this new burgeoning area. “A lot of retailers are jumping on the rental bandwagon because of the growth,” he says. “Some will have success but others – mainly those that aren’t in sectors where renting is really needed – will fare less well.”

Rental needs to be carefully managed, he says. “If it helps a retailer expand their customer reach by drawing in new segments, then it is valuable. If it simply cannibalises non-rental sales from existing customers, then it is dilutive to margins and profits. Volumes could also be undermined, which would impact economies of scale and profits.

“We see some retailers like American Eagle and Ikea getting into the game and you have to question how the economies of scale will stack up. Admittedly, renting is only going to be a very small part of their business for a while, but if it starts to grow and become bigger then it will arguably become problematic.”

But retailers should be prepared for change. As Bance says: “Something in traditional retail needs to change. Clearing the shops every three months and telling consumers that trends are changing and you need to buy something new isn’t sustainable.”

 

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