LONDON – Harrods is getting into the rental game, making space for My Wardrobe HQ, the high-end circular fashion platform both in-store and online.
MWHQ will open a pop-up at the Knightsbridge store on Thursday, July 8, and will offer the Harrods edit on MWHQ.com.
Harrods said the pop-up will stock a “highly-curated” edit of formal and event pieces as people return to socializing after three national lockdowns here. MWHQ said customers should prepare to rent “the unseen dresses of lockdown; stand-out pieces that didn’t have the chance to shine in the past season.”
Customers will be able to rent a variety of looks ranging from feathered gowns by Huishan Zang to Rotate’s colorful, sculptural mini dresses, and be able to experiment, knowing that, like Cinderella, they’ll need return the goods after a fixed period of time – specifically after 4, 7, 10 or 14 days.
The pop-up will be located on Harrods fourth floor and on MWHQ’s own website. Customers also have the option to purchase the pieces.
The project was spearheaded by Harrods’ fashion director Lydia King, and is part of a series of sustainability efforts at the store.
Alongside rental, Harrods has also introduced aftercare and bespoke services designed to prolong the lives of luxury items. Harrods offers a bespoke alterations service, an in-house cobbler at Shoe Heaven on the fifth floor, and also houses The Restory, which specializes in cleaning and repairing accessories.
Armani Privé Couture Fall 2021
King said the store chose to work with MWHQ because it has been “leading the way in responsible luxury and fashion circularity.” She said their approach aligns with Harrods’ “own sustainability priorities around promoting circular fashion and creating luxury that lasts a lifetime. I am so proud to present the edit that we have curated, a collection of dresses that can be effortlessly styled for any occasion.”
King also noted that over the past 18 months, “there have been many spectacular collections and stand-out pieces that haven’t had the chance to be seen or celebrated, so offering these pieces to our customers to rent for their next event is a way of giving these products a new life. Our fashion customers have more weddings, birthdays and other celebrations than ever before, and the joy of event dressing is back.”
Sacha Newall, co-founder MWHQ, said marrying My Wardrobe HQ’s tech to the fashion edit at Harrods will “maximize the audience for those items and ensure that they remain in circulation for as long as possible. This is where sustainability and fantasy become one.”
Asked why the site partnered with Harrods specifically, she said the store “has recognized that the status quo is changing. This partnership is a natural progression as the focus on sustainability in fashion sharpens.”
Jane Shepherdson, MWHQ’s chair, said the new partnership means that MWHQ “can engage with, and bring the joy of rental to a huge new customer base. We hope that the Harrods customer will enjoy the flexibility and sustainability of rental alongside their current purchasing options.”
MWHQ got a publicity boost last month after Carrie Symonds, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife, wore a series of rented outfits and accessories to the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.
Circular fashion is becoming increasingly common in London retail, with Selfridges offering an in-house rental service, and selling “pre-loved” items as part of its wider Project Earth initiative. Last September, the store hosted an Oxfam second-hand clothing shop in its prime, second-floor pop-up space, which proved a hit.
Meanwhile, MWHQ popped up at Liberty last year, and has also opened a temporary shop selling clothing at Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, England. The clothing at the Bicester store comes from the wardrobes of their private vendors, including designers, celebrities and influencers, and is a mix of new and past seasons.
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