Rent-Wear-Return– Not Anymore


Bengaluru fashion rental stores see a drop in demand with no signs of recovery as the city sees cancellation of events amidst the pandemic.

The city might be returning to normal but the clothes rental sector is not. It continues to see a 90 percent dip in customers. 

Pratap, from Costume Bank, who has recently added wedding rentals to their collection said, “Our business was doing well in November, with roughly 10-12 consumers per day. With the increase of Covid-19 instances beginning in December, the business began to lose steam, and now, we only have one to two customers per day.”

The rental industry has been struck hard in Bengaluru which has over 100 fashion and costume rental stores. Some stores in the city reported up to 90 percent drop in sales and clients. Savita Poddar, the owner of Kyasa-The Rental Boutique, said, “Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the business has been down for a few months. The number of everyday consumers has fallen, and 90 percent of my business has decreased.”

Candid Knots, which was founded six years ago, had a 40 percent year-over-year growth until last year. According to Shweta, the owner of the startup, the rental business is suffering just as much as other industries as a result of event cancellations. She said, “We’ve lost consumers and our revenue is down as a result of event and wedding cancellations. There have been lockdowns and weekend curfews, and our business has suffered as a result.”

In India, rental fashion has gained traction, with the market being valued at Rs.12,000 crores. According to Market Data Forecast, the global online fashion rental market would nearly double to more than $2 billion by 2026, up from $1 billion in 2021. In the future , the Indian fashion rental market is predicted to develop at a rate of 10.6 percent annually.

Megha, a resident of Jayanagar, Bangalore, said, “Buying new clothes for every occasion is not a feasible option. Renting clothes is a good option for me because I can just use it and return it. It is also economical.”

Candid Knots, which operates both online and offline, rents designer clothes for three days at 10 percent of the retail price. “The concept of rental fashion was fresh when we started about six years ago. The industry is now growing, and we are seeing a steady increase in customers,” said Shweta.

The rental industry is not only cost-effective but,also encourages long-term sustainability. A report by Ellen MacArthur Foundation found, An estimated $500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that’s barely worn and rarely recycled. And the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used—has decreased by 36 percent compared to 15 years ago.”

According to research by McKinsey & Company, “The shift to new ownership models is driven by growing consumer desire for variety, sustainability, and affordability. In more and more categories, consumers are choosing to rent rather than own goods outright. This is a fundamental evolution in consumer behavior, and we expect it will have an impact in the fashion business in the years ahead.”