About Rent a Dress
Established in 2014, Rent a Dress is Australia’s first peer-to-peer fashion rental platform. An important contributor to the circular fashion economy, Rent a Dress acts as a marketplace for Australian users, making designer fashion accessible and available for all. We connect designer dress owners with customers through an easy to use, secure online booking platform.
Rent a Dress is committed to ensuring every Australian has access to designer fashion through sustainable and environmentally friendly processes. Did you know that the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions? We encourage individuals to purchase quality pieces through designers committed to sustainable and ethical practices. Without the ability to recoup on this expenditure, the ability to purchase these garments is not always possible. Rent a Dress makes this recoupment possible. It is our commitment to have a direct, positive impact on the sustainability of fashion.
The Rent a Dress Story
How an 18 year old Melbourne student began one of Australia's first designer dress rental marketplaces.
Despite being one of the leading peer-to-peer fashion rental platforms in Australia, Rent a Dress was not started out with this intention. Founded by Larissa Walsh, by her own admission, building the business to where and how it stands now wasn't always her intention. Rent a Dress was not born from a lightbulb 'this is brilliant' moment, but more out of a desperate grab for cash. First year into university and working a seasonal job in Elwood (Melbourne), Larissa found herself quickly in need for cash during the winter of 2014. with only $300 to her name. "As a Millennial, I grew up watching the rise of Instagram, and in particular saw the positive impact it was having on launching and exposing small businesses. I was looking to raise some cash fast but wasn't prepared to part with some of the more expensive items I recently purchased for Uni Balls and Formals. So, I thought, instead of selling, why not try rent them out?" And so began the Rent a Dress journey.
Capitalising on Instagram's growing popularity, Larissa created the page @rentadressau and uploaded her items for rent. “I had seen a few girls selling their stuff through social media, so I thought, why not try renting them? I tried to make my page look as professional as I could and source the best photos I possibly could in order to attract interest. I also reached out to my friends to upload their items, knowing that the more items available, the more likely the page would attract interest and my own items would be rented."
The response to this new way of obtaining clothing was quick. Although previously unknown, the decision to rent a garment instead of purchasing one soon became an everyday practice amongst young women.
Soon others began reaching out to Rent a Dress, asking to list their garments up for rent, and as interest grew, so did the site.
"As a young woman living in a social media era, what you wear and how you look can often be an inevitable concern for an individual. This can be made even more stressful by the high price tags of popular designer fashion. As I saw the interest in Rent a Dress grow, I began to look at the socioeconomic benefits hiring provided for individuals, particularly young women and my interest in renting out my own garments pivoted towards an interest in providing a platform for others. Rent a Dress makes designer fashion accessible and available for those otherwise bound by the clutches of their bank accounts. It not only allows women to wear special pieces they could otherwise not afford, or not justify purchasing, it also provides women with an opportunity to justify their purchases and generate their own income through renting their own items out. Since the launch of Rent a Dress, I've seen many young women who had success in renting out their garments through us go on to start their own, growing, hiring businesses."
However, it's not just the socioeconomic impacts that renting provides to the community, but also the environmental ones as well. In this modern age of fast fashion, renting is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Instead of wearing items once or twice, neglecting them in our closets and eventually tossing them aside, garments are being worn again and again. "Customers are choosing to invest in beautiful, quality pieces, made by designers following ethical and sustainable practices, instead of opting for cheaper, fast fashion options. If we weren't able to share those pieces around, the impact of choosing to shop this way would be reserved for the lucky few not constrained by their bank accounts."