THE RISING POPULARITY OF GUNAS FOR HIRE
LIKE MOST WOMEN, I have toyed with notions of owning a walk-in wardrobe. When I bought my house in 2015, I thought about turning my spare room into a studio – work space meets wardrobe – but really just somewhere to keep my cumbersome amount of coats and shoes. Practicality reigned and so the builder converted the small box room into a moderate-sized double room, ripping out all the wardrobe space, knocking the wall and fitting long spacious shelves into the landing.
Suffice to say, I packed the space with everything I couldn’t fit in my own closet and I still – with the exception of when guests stay – have a spare bed that’s frequently piled high with clothes. Our wardrobes are often more lifestyle trophies than they are conducive to living. We have developed ways of keeping photos via iCloud, music via Spotify and movies via Netlix, freeing up shelf space in our homes and yet we still have to climb over boxes of old shoes in our bedrooms.
Fashion may be lagging behind in terms of technology but it is beginning to change via a new way of thinking from New York-based companies like Rent The Runway. Founded and run by entrepreneur Jenn Hyman, she makes the point that in a world where we have constant access to movie, phone and music subscriptions, our physical closet will soon become a relic of the past just like CDs, DVDs and landlines. If you’re still not convinced, listen up. Hyman founded her closet in the Cloudstyle start-up eight years ago, when she rented occasion-wear and debs dresses to women. Now she runs a subscription-based clothes rental, where her clients can access a library of designer fashion and refresh their wardrobe every month for a reasonable price. Hyman offers four garments a month at $89 (€70) or unlimited access at $169 (€120) a month that allows you to swap at any time.
In Ireland, Alana Laverty from Covet (covet.ie) on the top floor of the Powerscourt Town Centre offers a similar service on a smaller scale. Laverty moved home from New York and took over the shabby chicthemed borrower’s boudoir three years ago which she has now extended into a bridal room for savvy, stylish brides who don’t want to buy a wedding gown that will later just sit in their wardrobe. She houses everything from Badgley Mischka to Rachel Gilbert and Greta Constantine for €150 upwards on a three-day rental scheme.
Another woman updating the gladrags for hire phenomenon is Rhoda McDonagh from Designer Room (designerroom.ie) in Sandymount, which offers high-end designer names like Victoria Beckham, Preen and Gucci. Tapping into the millennial idea that many of us will only ever wear a dress once, especially coming into party season, McDonagh offers designers gems over four days, for a fraction of the retail price.