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Hirestreet introduces casual collection as Covid-19 restrictions continue

By Andrea Byrne

Sep 24, 2020

Fashion rental platform, Hirestreet, has adjusted its business model to adapt with the ongoing pandemic.

Before Covid-19, people had a reason to look for occasionwear. However, when the world came to a crashing halt, consumer demand changed during lockdown. There was no longer a need for party dresses, but for clothes to be worn at home. As restrictions lift and the hospitality sector starts to slowly open back up, the consumer requires a more casual style.

Hirestreet founder, Isabella West, spoke to FashionUnited and said: ““Dealing with Covid-19 has certainly been a big challenge, pre-April 2020 the majority of rentals sent out each month were for events such as weddings and parties. The restrictions on social gatherings meant that we quickly had to pivot our business. We introduced a TryOnService which encouraged our customers to have fun trying on items at home.

“We also introduced new collections including Coats & Tops to reflect the fact that our customers are now getting up for different kinds of occasions. The combination of these two initiatives actually meant August 2020 rentals were 58 percent up year on year. I think this also reflects the fact that many consumers are increasingly looking for both ways to save money and to be more sustainable.”

The global online clothing rental market is growing rapidly in popularity. It was marketed at a value of 1.26 billion dollars in the US, and the market is supposed to reach a value of 2.08 billion dollars by 2025, which is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 percent during 2020-2025, according to Research and Markets.

The demand for loungewear and casualwear surged by 49 percent year-on-year during March and April. Similarly, demand for tops and t-shirts increased by 13 percent.

“We are constantly refreshing our rental collections, our buying team uses data on previously popular styles and materials to determine future stock choices. If we believe a style is no longer perfect for rental, we will list it on our pre-loved site for sale. That way we can constantly refresh our stock,” West commented.

According to the thredUP Resale Report 2019, in conjunction with GlobalData, the resale market has grown 21 times faster than clothing retail over the last three years, but it is forecast to be one and half times the size of ‘fast fashion’ within 10 years.

Hirestreet includes brands such as Whistles, Ghost and Lavish Alice in the UK, and Talulah, Misha and Runaway in Australia and US.

When asked about the future of fashion rental platforms, West concluded: “Consumers are making it clear that sustainability is increasingly important to them. Next year (vaccine permitting) we will see a boom in occasions, lots of weddings, parties and events are being re-arranged for 2021 and our customers keep telling us how much they are looking forward to getting dressed up again.

“Combine these factors, with the fact that rental enables customers to save money whilst also wearing a dream outfit and I think we will see further increased demand. Many platforms will look to expand their offering to more than just ‘occasionwear’ categories, and I expect we will also see a rise in the number of customers requesting subscription-style rental offers, as hiring becomes a growing part of everyday life.”

Photo credit: Hirestreet, Facebook