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“Change as you wish, without breaking the bank”, clothing rental booming at a time of inflation

A pregnancy in sight? A wedding ceremony? Or the upcoming holiday season? Whatever the occasion, many French women often stand in front of their closet and complain about “having nothing to wear”.

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“Change as you wish, without breaking the bank”, clothing rental booming at a time of inflation

A pregnancy in sight? A wedding ceremony? Or the upcoming holiday season? Whatever the occasion, many French women often stand in front of their closet and complain about “having nothing to wear”. Problem is, in an inflationary context, the purchase of new clothes can turn out to be expensive and be sacrificed for the benefit of other expenses. Some consumers have found a way to continue to have fun and are now turning to renting items.

The brands have understood this well, this is the new niche that must not be missed. Gémo thus launched in November 2022 into the rental of maternity and breastfeeding clothing. The formula is simple: 20 euros per month for four items or double for eight items of clothing, including dry cleaning. Without commitment, the subscription allows you to receive new pieces each month, selected in advance on the Gémo website, from 3000 items of clothing. If customers want to keep an item for several months, they will only receive three or seven in future deliveries.

“For example, they order swimsuits in summer or oversized jackets in winter,” explains Charline Chalumeau, project manager for Gémo location. The formula appeals to customers, and is gaining popularity with “900% growth between January and September”. If the solution is economical, it is also responsible, as the project manager explains: “We see that our products go to several customers and have a long lifespan.” A long-sleeved red blouse was rented by five women, and is still available for rent. No need to take the item to the dry cleaners, the brand takes care of it directly. She also pays for any deterioration of clothing, such as stains or tears, within reason. And if the item is too damaged, it does not end up in the trash but in the Emmaüs association.

Gémo is far from being the only company to offer this initiative, like Kiabi, which launched its first test on maternity clothing in 2021. “Thanks to customer feedback, we have reinforced certain jeans at the stomach level,” mentions Adélaïde Vallée, rental project manager of the company. Still in the testing phase, the group has now extended its offering to all its clothing ranges. “The goal is to simplify the lives of families,” summarizes Adélaïde Vallée. Unlike Gémo, items can be collected in three Kiabi stores, in Noyelles-Godault, near Douai, in Bègles near Bordeaux or in Pontet, a few kilometers from Avignon.

Among the 300 customers who have subscribed to subscriptions are families but also adults who use the clothes for themselves. “We also have several subscribers who choose items as part of obesity surgery or future hospitalization,” underlines the project manager, who adds that “customers are now ready for the economy of use". While waiting for the test to end in the coming months, the brand is now considering extending its formula to other stores, and even abroad.

If clothing rental for the family is a hit, luxury items are also on the rise. Launched seven years ago, the Une robe un soir company focused on high-end clothing and events. It is thus possible to rent a Dior dress worth 12,000 euros to 420 euros for four days. “There is quite significant growth in event rental,” notes Naima Cardi, founder of Une robe un soir. Among the new clients, there are notably “business executives or female politicians”.

The company also offers a box service to receive several “premium” items each month. “In recent months, we have recorded quite a few new subscribers,” rejoices the founder. Thanks to these good results and a peak in activity last March, Naima Cardi recruited new employees for the months of May and June, in order “to respond to a demand that we had never experienced before”. To succeed in offering more than 10,000 pieces on its site, the company has also established partnerships with brands that are paid for rental. “Luxury is now becoming accessible and we are allowing young women to discover new brands,” says Naima Cardi, who adds that “renting gives you the power to change whenever you want without breaking the bank.”

An observation also shared by Maje, a “premium” clothing brand. “We have a lot of young customers, between 26 and 34 years old,” notes Sara Dalloul, senior press influence manager for the company. The latter launched its rental service in June 2021 to allow its customers “to benefit from a new fashion experience”. At 25 or 30 euros per day rental, long and formal dresses are the most popular with rental companies. “Since last year, rentals have increased,” recognizes Sara Dalloul, without specifying figures.

“There has been a definite increase in rentals in recent weeks,” also notes Léa Germano, co-founder of Studio Paillette. Here, the clothes are urban and are aimed more at fashion enthusiasts. “The objective is to compete with fast fashion with items worn more than 60 times,” explains the co-founder. Clothing rental thus appeals to all segments of the population, and all styles. It is therefore a safe bet that other brands and other concepts will become more popular in the coming months. The opportunity to make some savings for consumers.

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