Is wedding dress rental the future of bridal fashion?
When Carrie Symonds married British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May, she wore a dreamy tulle and embroidered lace gown by luxury designer Christos Costarellos. The cost to purchase the dress is $ 4,200, but Symonds went the wedding dress rental route and paid around $ 65.
Symonds is notoriously eco-chic – it wasn’t the first expensive event she’s rented a dress for – but a public figure renting a wedding dress makes a major statement on the style, durability and evolution of the relationship from society to fashion and weddings.
Clothing rental has been an upward trend for several years, alongside growing awareness of the environment and our finances. The Fitzroy, which opened in 2015, is at the forefront of the dress rental movement in Canada. It currently stocks more than 2,000 dresses – options for the red carpet, date nights and weddings – that customers can browse online. Owner Julie Kalinowski says Fitzroy wedding dress rental options continue to grow and range from elegant slip-on dresses and jumpsuits, mini dresses and modern ball gowns from designers such as Monique Lhuillier, Cynthia Rowley, Theia, For Love & Lemons and Reformation.
Renting a dress from Fitzroy will cost you $ 100 to $ 150 for four days. Kalinowski says the incredibly affordable price attracts many brides. “Consider that you’ll spend between $ 2,000 and $ 10,000 or more on a one-time dress,” says Kalinowski. “You can have the same look and the same designer options by renting, and you’ll also likely have a budget to play around with and rent an additional look or two for your wedding day. “
Kalinowski says one of the biggest wedding dress trends she’s noticed is a penchant for the subversion of tradition. More and more brides are choosing colorful dresses or fancy patterns with crochet, pleat and 3D flower details.
It was the experience of Nicole Pauker. For her recent wedding, Pauker rented Gemy Maalouf’s Fantasia dress – a gorgeous blush pink ruffled tulle tailoring – from Fitzroy. “The moment I put it on, I knew it was the right one,” Pauker says. “I fired and it was over. I wanted to wear a great trendy dress and thought to myself, since I’m only going to wear it once, why buy it and leave it in my closet forever if I can rent it and someone else can take advantage of it too? “
Consignment is another sustainable wedding dress purchasing option. “Buying on consignment keeps a dress out of the landfill,” says Jacqueline Riddell, owner of Six pence bridal studio in Guelph, Ontario. “Some of our dresses are new, most of our dresses have been worn once, but we have a few that come to us in perfect condition, ready to be worn a third time.”
Riddell focuses on a beautifully curated selection of high-end styles in her store – all the hottest trends but not an overwhelming amount of inventory – to create a more focused shopping experience. The dresses are 30-80% off the original price and cost between $ 1,000 and $ 1,800. Store a wide range of sizes is also a priority for Riddell: “We have big plans to achieve more inclusive sizes and expand our inventory of larger size ranges. “
If you’re considering going the consignment route, Riddell has a few tips. “Be open to anything: dresses can be altered to suit your body, but also adjusted to suit your vision,” says Riddell. “With consignment, the dress may have already been worn, so there may be some small flaws and we reflect this in the price – in our store we will never accept a dress with obvious flaws or stains. Don’t be afraid of what the size tag says – we can cut them! It’s important to remember that wedding dresses fit one or two sizes smaller to start with, and if they’ve already been altered, they will probably fit even smaller.
Kalinowski says the pandemic has had an optimal impact on Fitzroy’s wedding dress rental business. With couples running away and planning ultra-intimate evenings, the need for easily accessible cool and stylish wedding attire has never been greater. “One thing everyone has learned over the past year is that you don’t need to own formal wear,” says Kalinowski, who predicts an upcoming wedding dress rental boom . “It’s just not sustainable or economical.”