If you’ve ever wanted to pop off for a day in a plaid outfit you can’t afford, now you can — if you’re in the U.K., that is. Burberry, the brand synonymous with plaid, is linking with rental and resale platform My Wardrobe HQ for its first rentable womenswear collection.
Thanks, it’s a rental — The Burberry offering includes donated signature pieces, like trench coats, shoes, and handbags, that can be rented for 4, 7, 10, or 14 days at a time. Shoppers even have the option to buy the item: rental prices range from £41-170 (about $54-225) (need to put US $ range in parenthesis), while resale prices reach £750 ($990) depending on the piece.
Rental fashion got its popularity among Millennials and Gen Zers because it solved the problem of buyer’s remorse and overspending. Younger generations tend to care more about access and sustainability than ownership, evident through the spike of brand accountability and transparency. Burberry’s shift toward rental doesn’t just push its own eco-friendly goals, it also encourages buyers to make a more responsible investment choice.
Luxury at its eco-friendliest — My Wardrobe HQ became the official rental and resale platform at Harrods (the iconic U.K. retailer) in 2021 and welcomed Burberry into its inventory on December 8. The partnership is part of the British label’s pledge to a more circular future in fashion, which, according to VP of Corporate Responsibility Pam Batty, will lead to being a Climate Positive brand by 2040.
So far, Burberry has kept its promise. In 2020, it became the first luxury brand to issue a sustainability bond and donated fabrics to students in need. All of its runway shows have been certified carbon neutral since 2019 and market-based emissions have decreased by 92 percent since 2016. From a consumer and sustainablility standpoint, the Burberry deal works well to complete their grand plan, from the circular fashion to the recycled packaging and ozone cleaning process that eliminates bacteria.
While renting its clothes may be improving Burberry’s bottom line, the initiative to help people ethically consume fashion should still be applauded. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Smart Works, a UK charity that offers interview attire and coaching to unemployed women. Burberry struck a partnership with the charity in 2013, now pledging 40 percent of its My Wardrobe HQ sales to help dress women who are re-entering the workforce.
Though there’s still no word on whether Burberry is bringing its rentals to the U.S., and don’t be surprised if other brands start to catch on to similar services — even though it could diminish brand reputation since it would be more accessible. Can’t win ‘em all.