I might be a fashion writer and stylist, but these days there’s a small part of me that secretly wishes I could give up shopping permanently and simply rely on the $159 USD-per-month, unlimited clothing rental subscription from Rent the Runway to inject newness and colour into my existing wardrobe.
Renting party dresses and designer separates for special occasions and big events is often more cost-effective and environmentally sound than purchasing (and storing) garments that will likely be worn just once or twice. With the rise of the sharing economy, Rent the Runway’s innovative rent-not-own model has been embraced by over 9-million members, and the company currently stores over 450,000 items in its 300,000 square-foot dry cleaning and warehouse space. Alas, the American start-up no longer ships internationally, and neither does Armarium, which specializes in loans of four-figure frocks for very special occasions.
Thankfully, an exciting group of Canadian entrepreneurs have started to fill the sartorial void in recent years. Now, there are a number of online and offline companies offering stylish options for loan across Canada — some are available nationally and a few are locally focused. And while many are smaller endeavours with narrow size ranges and limited quantities of stock (for now), it’s great to finally have the option of renting instead of saving up for a Canadian designer dress or shiny new jumpsuit when you want to feel fancy.
Here are seven of my favourite dress rental companies in Canada, and the standout items you can borrow from each for your next seasonal fête or hot Bumble date.