Meet Rntr., Australia’s newest destination to rent high-end fashion
All dresses and no stress.
For someone like me, who once ripped the entire back of my dress at a friend’s 21st birthday party (at least that’s what the photos of my butt peeking through the black fabric tell me) and who’s known for hitting the dance floor with a drink in hand, the contents of which quickly end up all over me, renting (and subsequently ruining) clothes never held much appeal.
It’s always felt as expensive as just buying something myself and honestly, who can mind the stress of trying not to destroy someone else’s dress? But aside from those apprehensions, the truth is that there has never been a platform in Australia that rents out things that I would really want to wear.
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While in the US Rent The Runway, the service that popularized clothing rentals when it was founded in 2009, lets you rent Staud and House of Sunny for the new season, in Australia our rental options are more limited. They usually consist of either brands your mom wears (no tint) or brands you’ve never heard of that rip off other designers (huge tint).
But Rntr. is about to change that. Founded by Shanya Suppasiritad in November 2021, Rntr. is a new clothing rental platform that will lend 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.
At a time when other clothing rental companies are faltering (a week ago fashion company reported the closure of two of the largest men’s clothing rental companies in the United States) Rntr. arrived as a bright beacon of hope for the rental fashion game, departing from the usual “buy inventory then rent it out” method.
“The rental industry has been around for a very long time, but the model looks really dated,” says 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 quality parts that are sustainably made. Home also provides brands with the software and operational support to launch rental services on their own websites.
“What we’re telling brands is that 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 a consumer for an item, that same item can be rented ten times and you earn 150% of the retail price and connect with ten different customers,” she explains.
Australian brand Esse, one of the first brands to officially join the platform as a brand partner, has done just that and now offers a number of its pieces for hire on its website. You just click on the item you want, like this long white sleeveless dress, and under the “add to cart” button, there’s a button that says “rent with Rntr”. starting at $170 AUD’ (which, in the world of event wear, happens to be a pretty decent cost-per-wear rate).
Once selected, a pop-up window will appear asking you to designate the size you need, the rental duration and the pick-up and drop-off dates. Remarkably, if you live in the Sydney Metro, you can also request same-day delivery before 11am (something Shanya tells me Rentr. hopes to offer customers in Melbourne soon).
Other brand partners include Nique and Arnsdorf, both of which will be inviting customers to view their IRL rental collections as part of the PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival, hosting events where you can visit in-store and discover, try on and book coins using Rntr. Technology.
While Rntr. promotes itself as a platform that puts sustainability first, it’s important not to kid ourselves – the most sustainable way to dress for an event (or any other occasion) is to wear something that’s already in your closet.
However, it is true that Rntr. offers thoughtfully designed, 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 reclaiming valuable closet space, sacrificing hard-earned cash, or giving in to fast fashion.
With the weekend fast approaching, I decided to try it myself. The aforementioned Esse dress arrived wrapped in tissue paper, looking like new, and with a little pink card of instructions on how to look after it and then return it.
I’m surprised the familiar thrill and excitement of getting a package in the mail is the same, even though I’m going to pack the dress in a satchel and send 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, the sweaty bodies and the drinks flying everywhere.
Fortunately, the team at Rntr. is refreshingly confident in both the quality of its parts and its team’s ability to get things back to new with a trip to the dry cleaner (Rntr. does, don’t worry). “Up to $100 insurance is included in the price of every rental, which basically means that if something comes back with a small stain or missing button, it’s okay for us to fix it and you don’t. won’t be charged extra,” Shanya assures me.
The trick, she explains, is to treat your rented pieces the same way you would anything you own and plan to wear again (which, of course, should be all). Take care and respect my friends. So yeah, I’ll hit the dance floor in my Esse dress, but I think I’ll stick to clear liquids only.
Discover the Rntr. range here and To learn more about Rntr.’s PayPal Fashion Festival events, click here.