As chief people officer for Ding.com, having also worked as vice-president of HR at Facebook, Fiona Mullan regularly attends black tie events and charity lunches. Using Designer Room (DesignerRoom.ie), a company that rents high-end designer dresses and outfits for four days at a time, is a no-brainer.
“I’ve used it for three reasons,” Mullan says. “The first is access to a variety of different kinds of dresswear that are suited to events, without having to go through the effort of visiting multiple shops and spending lots of money. I find it a cost-effective way to add variety to my wardrobe, but the time-saving aspect to it really appeals. I don’t have the time to do the legwork otherwise. It actually made me braver to try things I wouldn’t necessarily have done when I’m spending my own money. It’s like I get a personal shopping experience where stuff is laid out that suits my shape.”
The growing awareness around sustainability is also a factor. “I’ve grown up on the high street, so to speak, so I’m learning all the time on how to change my behaviours. We’re all learning.”
A marketing professional by trade, Rhoda McDonagh quit her banking job to open the Designer Room in Sandymount in Dublin 4 in April 2018. Clients rent an outfit for anything from €60 to €200. McDonagh hires out up to 20 outfits a week. Labels such as Victoria Beckham, Ann Su, Marc Jacobs, Self-Portrait, Preen, Temperley and Stella McCartney are among the most popular.
“I was going to a wedding down in Adare Manor and I wanted to see if I could rent high-end designer like Roksanda or Victoria Beckham,” she says. “I couldn’t find anything, and that’s when I went, ‘That’s it. There must be a market here.’ Others were targeting the bridal market, or younger shoppers, but Designer Room is for women over 30 who like high-end designers; women who don’t have time to go shopping.”
Much more choice with new rental companies opening including Brown Thomas rental edit – there is no reason why now you should have to buy when you have such a choice renting a fab outfit for a fraction of the price.