Instagrammers Are Making Fashion Rental Businesses Rich

If you thought you would have to wait for the day when you were making millions of dollars as a movie star or high-priced cat blogger in order to show off your luxurious life lounging around in high-end fashions, think again.

Businesses like Rent the Runway are nothing new. But the high-end fashion rental business is booming lately and industry experts say it's thanks in large part to social media. Via The Guardian:

Such is the buzz around the business – where the number of dresses rented out has doubled in each of the last two years, putting it on course for sales of $100m this year – that Wall Street analysts are predicting it could soon have a $1bn price tag swinging from it as investors clamour to get a piece of the next big technology company.

"We're giving our customer access to things she wouldn't have otherwise purchased, either because it wasn't smart to buy it or she couldn't afford it," its co-founder Jennifer Hyman told Forbes magazine. The ability to recycle favourite dresses is being curtailed by sites such as Facebook and Instagram, which is fueling the rental boom. "It creates pressure for women," says Hyman. "Now you can't repeat outfits because your friends have seen that outfit on social media. As ridiculous as that sounds, that is what drives our business."

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Add "people will make bitchy comments noticing I'm wearing an outfit they saw me in before" to the list of insecurities people have about posting online. Of course, they must not be talking about people like me who pretty much use their Instagram to post pictures of weird things their dog is doing. These are hardcore Instagrammers who take their fashion shit seriously, man.

As the Guardian points out, this is just another aspect of the sharing economy that we all know and love so much. Girl Meet Dress is a UK company that offers designer rentals from Alice and Oliva, Herve Leger and Nicole Miller, among others. All you have to click a few buttons and the garment is yours for a period of either two or seven days, whichever you think will be sufficient enough time to trick your Instagram followers into believing you're living a fabulous, fashion-filled life and not ducking bill collectors while living off Budget Gourmet frozen dinners.

Rent the Runway recently unveiled its first brick and mortar store in New York as well, where you can make appointments with a stylist and customize your own renter profile. Via the New York Daily News:

Rentals — available for either four or eight days — range from $30 for an Erin Fetherston or Versace Collection cocktail dress from several seasons ago, to $450 for a full-length Gabriela Cadena gown that retails for $6,000.

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So for THIRTY DOLLARS, aka the price to own a cheaper item in one of Target's diffusion lines, you can rent a designer dress to show off online to all your friends and random followers. Dress rentals are a great idea —perhaps you're going to a gala hosted by your employer or a fundraiser or you've been hired as a seat filler at the Kenosha Rotary Club for their annual Community Innovators Award Ceremony. Or maybe you just want to put on a $6,000 Carolina Herrera dress and head down to the Taco Bell to eat nachos and flirt with that cute cashier who you think smiled at you once when you came through the drive through. Who am I to judge you? It's your life. You do you.

Whatever you do, just make sure you Instagram the SHIT out of it and pretend that dress is totally yours. Flaunt it like you stole it, guys.

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Image via Shutterstock.

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