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Renting Clothes & Dresses in Singapore: Does It Make Sense To Do So?

profileHui Juan Neo

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Source: Giphy

If you’ve been scrolling through social media feeds, you’ve probably seen a ton of different ads popping up, right?

Among the endless stream of ads, you’ll come across everything from fashion to furniture and beyond. But something that caught my eye recently was ads for clothes rental.

For just $59, I can try out three fresh pieces of clothing every month.

Now, let’s talk about the reality of clothing prices today. I mean, these days, their prices are going up (partly thanks to inflation I guess) and a single piece of clothing can easily set you back anywhere from $30 to $50.

Here’s the rental advantage: no pile of ill-fitting or unwanted clothes cluttering your closet, no resale or donations required. Plus, the total cost of renting often beats ownership.

And on the financial side, is it wise to spend $50 to $90 monthly to sample clothes without owning them? That’s $600 to $1,080 a year! Is that your typical clothing budget?

I delved into the clothing rental market in Singapore to find answers to these burning questions.


TL;DR: Renting Clothes & Dresses in Singapore: Does It Make Sense To Do So?

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Renting Clothes in Singapore

Source: Giphy

The sharing economy has changed the way we live (for example, GetGo, BlueSG etc.), and fashion and accessories are the one sector where we see some companies thriving.

These companies rent out branded bags, and branded clothes at less than 10% of the original price, which you otherwise have to fork out in full not knowing how many times you would wear them.

How Is The Clothes Rental Industry in Singapore?

When I first learned about fashion rental, I thought it was odd, because who would want to rent clothes that (many) others have worn before?

Just how common it is to subscribe to a clothes rental service in Singapore?

Well, one of Southeast Asia’s top fashion clothes renting service providers, homegrown brand Style Theory, has over 2 million rental users in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Source: GIPHY

It’s not hard to understand why. Consumers are getting increasingly educated on fashion wastage and sustainability, and it’s also a practical way to avoid overspending on clothes that you don’t need. And this is especially so for the ladies.

We have also seen other fashion brands in Singapore jumping in to fill this gap – Her Velvet Vase, MADTheory, MDS Collection, The Treasure Collective (maternity clothes) and more.

It’s also not uncommon to see individuals renting tuxedos, dresses and gowns for company events because of the rare occasion of wearing these clothes again.

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Pros And Cons of Renting Clothes in Singapore

Common Misconceptions About Renting Clothes

One common misconception is that clothing rental services offer a limited selection of styles and sizes.

While this may have been true in the past, many rental services now offer a wide variety of clothing options, including trendy, designer, and plus-size garments.

To quote an example, Style Theory has overย 600,000 preloved designer wear items under its belt.

Hygiene And Quality of Rental Clothes

Some people worry about the cleanliness and hygiene of rented clothing, but reputable rental services have strict cleaning and sanitisation processes in place to ensure that garments are in excellent condition and ready to wear.

This is especially so when COVID-19 hits, with rental companies moving on to contactless deliveries, having separate warehouses to process returned apparel and new and clean clothes.

According to Style Theory and Rentadella in a Channel NewsAsia interview, the clothing facilities were also temperature-regulated and humidity-controlled to ensure inventory is kept dry and away from moisture which builds up mildew and mould.

Another misconception is that rented clothes are of lower quality compared to purchased items. Many rental services curate their collections with high-quality and well-maintained clothing to provide customers with a positive experience.

3. Customer Experience

How long did it take for you to consider getting the designer clothes or bags you own now, or do you have an aspiration of owning one someday?

If your answer to both questions is that you’ve taken a considerable amount of time to think things through, chances are this is the intangible value that a rental subscription creates – even though you don’t own the item, you still get to use it.

After all, our taste changes over time and you might only be using these branded items occasionally.

It also makes the decision-making process easier because you get to try the actual product before swiping your credit card at the retail stores.

4. Is It Truly a More Sustainable Option?

It’s a common belief that renting encourages lesser demand for new clothing production, lessening the chance of people discarding clothes too quickly which contributes to textile waste.

However, there’s another line of argument that there are hidden environmental costs of renting clothes too.

Even though you might not be buying new clothing, through the monthly subscription to new items that are driven by fast fashion brands and consumption habits, there is an indirect causal relationship.

There are also studies that argue that renting clothes might not be a sustainable option after all due to the greenhouse gases emitted throughout the delivery process.

How eco-friendly is renting clothes, then?

While there’s no conclusive evidence that renting clothes reduces the rate of fast fashion or textile waste, I personally think that if you choose to rent because of environmental reasons, you should pace yourself in going through clothing too quickly.

While researching, I came across this quote by sustainable fashion blogger, Lily, who aptly described what I thought sustainable fashion should be:

On an individual level, true sustainable fashion means slowing down and loving what you already have.

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How Much Does It Cost to Rent Clothes in Singapore

We’ve talked about both sides of the coin, but just how much does it cost to rent clothes on a monthly basis?

Here’s a comparison of clothes rental subscription services in Singapore:

Clothes Rental Subscription ServicesPrice/monthWhat do you getHow it works
MDS$29.90Get a monthly $50 credit that you can use for any full-priced item online or save it for later with no expiration date. You can carry over your remaining balance.
Every credit allows you to select one item from the online store. Additionally, MDS offers a loyalty points system, where you earn one point for every $1 spent on an item. For example, if you use one credit to buy a $29.90 piece, you'll receive 29 points. These points can be accumulated and redeemed for cash vouchers worth up to $50 in the future.
$49.90Receive $100 credit monthly, redeemable for any full-priced item online or use them later with no expiry. Balance can be brought forward.
$99.90Receive $200 credit monthly, redeemable for any full-priced item online or use them later with no expiry. Balance brought forward.
Style Theory$593 pieces per month, average value of $700 per month1 delivery per month
$896 pieces per month, average value of $1,500 per month2 deliveries per month
$79 (U.P. $129)9 pieces per month, average value of $2,300 per month3 deliveries per month
$1291 bag per month, complimentary repair coverage up to $200 on every bag rented, average value of $3,000-
$1492 bags per month, complimentary repair coverage up to $350 on every bag rented, average value of $3,000-
$2492 bags per month, complimentary repair coverage up to $350 on every bag rented, average value of $6,000-
Her Velvet Vase$90Super Me: 6 months - $150 worth of products-
$100Super Me: 3 months - $150 worth of products-
$110Super Me: 1 month - $150 worth of products-
$70Regular Me: 1 month - $90 worth of products-
$65Regular Me: 3 months - $90 worth of products-
$60Regular Me: 6 months - $90 worth of products-
$70Mini Me: 1 month - $88 worth of products-
$60Mini Me: 3 months - $88 worth of products-
$50Mini Me: 6 months - $88 worth of products-

According to a study by Janio in 2021, it’s found that Singapore’s online fashion shoppers are willing to spend up to ~$500 (USD367) per year on fashion. But in reality, we know that popular fashion brands in Singapore have membership tiers that require you to spend more than this amount to access privileges and promotions.

When we compare this to a clothing subscription service of six months by Her Velvet Vase, it seems more cost-effective to rent instead of buying on a monthly basis.

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So, Is It More Worth Renting or Buying?

Source: Tenor

Ultimately, whether renting or buying is the better choice depends on individual preferences and needs.

For those special occasions, infrequent wear, or a desire to explore ever-changing fashion trends, renting offers convenience and variety. For example, wedding gowns, or seasonal clothes such as winter clothes that you wear perhaps once every few years.

However, for those who carefully curate their wardrobe and seek long-term investments, owning may remain the preferred route.

Do remember that fashion choices are personal, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Sustainable fashion is not just about what you wear, but how you wear it. It’s about cherishing what you have, making thoughtful choices, and, in your own way, contributing to a more environmentally conscious and fashion-savvy future.

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About Hui Juan Neo
A savvy shopper and foodie at heart, I'm always on a lookout for discounts and deals to snag the best bargains.
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