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With Rentals, Selfridges Helps Shoppers ‘Try Out a Different Kind of Style’

As consumers look to ditch their sweats for more exciting fashion fare, Selfridges is taking on the rental market.

Powered by rental platform Hurr, which partnered with the British department store on a limited rentable capsule last summer, Selfridges has launched a new program dubbed Selfridges Rental through its e-commerce site.

The retailer’s buying team has curated an assortment of the spring season’s newest women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, which are available to rent for varied periods spanning 4-20 days. Renters can borrow individual pieces, with prices ranging from 20 pounds (about $27) to 900 pounds (more than $1,250).

The assortment of rentable goods is made up of a broad array of contemporary labels, household name brands and luxury icons like Reformation, Ganni, Jacquemus, Stella McCartney, Etro, Valentino, Rixo, Erdem, Staud, Victoria Beckham, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Agolde, Altuzarra, Furla and more, the company said in a statement. “For Selfridges Rental, the goal is to create an edit of the most desirable items to fit today’s ever-evolving lifestyle,” head of womenswear buying Jeannie Lee added.

The move marks an evolution for Hurr’s platform as well. Hurr Enterprise launched alongside Selfridges Rental, the wardrobe rental company said, using the same technology that powers its existing platform. Now, though, the its rental infrastructure and backend technology will be available to brands and retailers that wish to create their own platforms and wade into the sharing economy.

Hurr founder Victoria Prew called Selfridges’ foray into the rental space a “daring move,” as it is “the first U.K. department store to take the plunge into the fashion rental market.” Prew added that the introductory Selfridges Rental collection is made up of pieces for young shoppers whose “aspirations exceed their income,” but that also appeal to the well-heeled set “who can afford to pay full-price, but want the convenience of swapping out last season’s fashion for current season.”

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The rental market has taken a hit throughout the pandemic, as shoppers’ needs for new duds contracted during months spent working from home. Last fall, Rent the Runway slashed its Unlimited program, which allowed members to perpetually cycle out garments and accessories throughout a given month. The rental pioneer saw multiple quarters of logistical upheaval before calling the overly taxing plan quits and reverting back to its prior suite of membership models. For $89-$199 per month, members can choose between receiving one, two and four shipments of four items at a time.

Still, others are banking on a rental recovery as retail begins to see signs of renewed interest from consumers. In early March, Ralph Lauren launched its own borrowing program, The Lauren Look, using B2B technology platform CaaStle’s subscription-based unlimited rental model. The program gives devotees of the heritage American label the ability to dip into a range of dresses, pants, jumpsuits, jackets and more for $125 per month. Members can rent four pieces and keep them for as long as they’d like.

And in April, Britain’s L.K. Bennett and Moss Bros followed suit, launching their own dedicated CaaStle-powered rental platforms. The backend tech enables rental services for Banana Republic, Vince, Destination Maternity, Eloquii, Rebecca Taylor, giving members an option to buy the items they truly love. Amid the pandemic, which saw upscale retailers globally hit hard by diminished sales, rentals represent an opportunity for brands to capture a predictable and recurring revenue stream, according to CaaStle.

Meanwhile, Selfridges says rentals give consumers “a more flexible shopping experience” across the board. Renters can now access a standout piece that may have previously been out of reach from a price point perspective, it added, or try new products with the items they currently have in their closets before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

“Furthermore, by choosing to rent rather than buy new-season, customers can still test out a different kind of style without creating any waste when they want to move on,” it said.