Hurr Collective is the UK’s first peer-to-peer fashion rental service – but how does it work? Absolutely finds out...
By Abbie Schofield
Ask any stylish millennial and they’ll tell you, fast fashion is out and sustainability is in.
The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters – more than the aviation and shipping industries combined – and in light of the revelation that UK households send 300,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill, consumers are waking up. But there is a dissonance between the growing demand for ethical, or ‘slow’ fashion, and the pressure to be wearing a different outfit in every photo on our Instagram grids.
While pre-loved fashion retailers like Vestiaire Collective have long been the go-to for vintage luxury finds, purchasing the odd second-hand piece doesn’t negate the environmental and human damage that excess clothes shopping – be it high street or designer – can do.
This is where Hurr Collective comes in. The self-proclaimed “Airbnb of Fashion” allows members to rent designer items from its lenders for a short period of time – usually around a week – and simply pop them back in the post using zero-waste RePack bags. Instagram and eco-friendly.
Curious to find out more, I paid a visit to Hurr’s HQ, a Belgravia townhouse which is home to a special selection of items available to rent. It’s also where Hurr’s concierge service takes place; celebrity customers – who presumably don’t have the time to traipse to the Post Office – can drop in and collect outfits for events at short notice.
I am greeted by Sophie Devlin, Head of Partnerships, who takes me downstairs to the Hurr showroom. As I enter, I have to suppress a gasp; racks upon racks of luxe clothes, shoes and handbags line the room, of which the walls and carpet are smothered in deep blue velvet. It’s a wardrobe Carrie Bradshaw would be envious of.
“Once a lady was down here for so long I thought she might have died,” Sophie laughs. It is indeed a heart-stopping fashion haven, and deciding which item to borrow proves tricky. From a slinky Rebecca Valance gown to a bright pink Balenciaga blazer, Hurr has a perfectly curated collection of the most sought-after brands and styles.
“People like to rent things they would never buy. Our most popular item is this Alexis dress,” Sophie points to a bedazzled pink and red sequined mini-dress. It retails for £1,388 but is available to rent from Hurr for £120.
With no formal events on the horizon, I select some work-appropriate wear: a cream, one-shouldered Ganni knit, a cosmic print Rixo dress and a brick-red Dolce and Gabbana bag, worth £925 but £51 to rent.
For renters, the process is simple. They create a membership and select the item (or items) they want to borrow, which the lender then posts. After the agreed time period is up, the renter posts the item back for the lender to dry clean and prepare for the next renter.
Victoria Prew, Co-Founder of Hurr, says that she envisioned the platform after spotting a gap in the market: “I’d watched the massive rise of the sharing economy – from Airbnb to Uber – that impact all areas of our day to day lives. As one of the world’s most polluting industries, I really believed fashion was the next big industry that was ripe for disruption.”
With people today prioritising access over ownership, Hurr gives eco-conscious it-girls an unlimited online wardrobe at their fingertips. “Our customers care about the environment, are savvy enough to know they can monetise their wardrobes and love being part of a forward-thinking community of women,” Victoria explains.
Hurr is taking the concept to the next level with a physical rental pop-up shop in Belgravia this month. Until 29 November visitors will have access to in-house personal styling, clothes repair workshops and events. “The pop-up is a great opportunity for us to build our online community offline, get to know our customers and create a luxury rental experience,” says Victoria.
At the end of the week, I say goodbye to my rented items – parting with the Dolce handbag is particularly traumatic – but I find comfort in the knowledge that I’ll never have to complain of “nothing to wear”. If I need a wedding-guest outfit or a last-minute party dress, Hurr will be on hand.
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