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Meet the rental platform curating only Australian brands

IMAGE VIA @LEEMATHEWSAU/INSTAGRAM

Words by Maeve Galea

All the dresses and none of the stresses.

For someone like me, who once ripped the entire back of my dress at a friend’s 21st (or so the pictures of my bum peeking through black fabric tell me) and has been known to hit the dancefloor with a drink in hand, the contents of which quickly end up all over myself, renting (and subsequently ruining) clothing has never held much appeal.

It always seemed as expensive as simply buying something myself and honestly, who can be bothered with the stress of trying to not wreck someone else’s dress? But aside from those trepidations, the truth is that there has never been a platform in Australia that rents out things I’d actually want to wear.


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While in the United States, Rent The Runway, the service that brought clothing rental into the mainstream when it was founded in 2009, allows you to rent new-season Staud and House of Sunny, in Australia our rental options are more limited. They usually consist of either brands your mum wears (no shade) or ones you’ve never heard of that are ripping off other designers (huge shade).

But Rntr. is set to change that. Founded by Shanya Suppasiritad in November 2021, Rntr. is a new clothing rental platform that will loan you everything from a princess-pink dress from Oroton to a capsule collection of everyday classics from brands like Sir the Label and Scanlan Theodore.

In a time when other rental clothing businesses are faltering (a week ago Business of Fashion reported on the closure of two of the US’s biggest menswear rental companies) Rntr. has arrived as a shiny beacon of hope for the rental fashion game, deviating from the usual ‘buy inventory and then rent it out’ method.

“The rental industry has been around for a really long time, but the model feels really dated,” explains Shanya, who intentionally designed Rntr. differently. It’s a platform that relies less on buying inventory and more on creating partnerships with brands that share its principles of investing in sustainably made, quality pieces. Rentr. also provides brands with the software and operational backing to launch rental services on their own websites.

“What we’re telling brands is when you put that rental button up there, it’s up to the consumer how they want to interact with your clothes. Instead of connecting with one consumer for one item, that same item can be rented out ten times and you make 150 per cent of the retail price and connect with ten different customers,” she explains.

Australian label Esse, one of the first brands to officially join the platform as a partner brand, has done just that and now offers a select number of its pieces for rental on its website. You simply click on the item you desire, like this white sleeveless maxi dress, and under the ‘add to cart’ button there’s a button that says ‘rent with Rntr. from $170 AUD’ (which in the world of event wear works out to be a pretty decent cost-per-wear rate).

Once you make this selection, a pop-up will appear asking you to nominate the size you require, the rental duration and the dates for pick up and drop off. Remarkably, if you live in Sydney metro you can also request same-day delivery before 11am (something Shanya tells me Rentr. is hoping to offer to Melbourne clients soon).

Other partner brands include Nique and Arnsdorf, who will both be inviting customers to experience their rental collections IRL as part of PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival, hosting events where you can go in store and learn about, try on and reserve pieces using Rntr.’s technology.

While Rntr. champions itself as a platform that puts sustainability first, it’s important that we don’t kid ourselves – the most sustainable way to dress for an event (or any occasion) is wearing something that is already in your closet.

However, it’s true that Rntr. provides thoughtfully made, stylish and accessible alternatives to mass-produced clothing (especially wear-once-and-throw-away pieces) when you want to feel extra special. And, of course, it can help you scratch that itch for something new without claiming precious space in your wardrobe, sacrificing hard-earned cash, or giving in to fast fashion.

With the weekend fast approaching, I decided to try it out for myself. The aforementioned Esse dress arrived wrapped up in tissue paper, looking brand new and with a little pink card of instructions about how to care, and then return it.

I’m surprised that the familiar thrill and excitement of receiving a package in the mail is the same, even though I will be packing the dress in a satchel and sending it back to Rntr. HQ on Monday. Things are going so well until old worries come back to haunt me – I imagine the dance floor, sweaty bodies and drinks flying around.

Thankfully, the team at Rntr. is refreshingly confident in both the quality of its pieces and the ability of its team to get things looking brand new again with a trip to the dry cleaners (Rntr. does this, don’t worry). “Up to $100 of insurance is included in the price of each rental, which basically means that if something comes back with a little stain or a button missing it’s not a big deal for us to fix that and you won’t be charged extra,” Shanya assures me.

The trick, she explains, is to treat your rented pieces the same as you would anything that you own and plan to wear again (which, evidently, should be everything). Care and respect my friends. So yes, I will be hitting the dancefloor in my Esse dress, but I think I’ll stick to clear liquids only.

Discover the Rntr. range here and find out more about Rntr.’s PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival events here.

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