When it comes to answering the question of how we make fashion more sustainable? The truth is there are no simple solutions – well, other than not buying anything at all.

A recent study by the environmental group Wrap revealed that 1 in 8 people buy a new item of clothing every week, while national wardrobes hold 1.6 billion unworn garments. And astonishingly, a quarter of the clothes we own haven’t made it out of the house in a year. The mantra we’ve held here has always been “Buy less and buy better” – but if you don’t want to buy, then rental is proving to be a growing alternative to many of our wardrobes!

According to film director and climate activist Becky Hunter, “the rental space is set to override fast fashion by 2030.” Becky was responsible for a new feature film, Fashion Reimagined, that unpicks the issue alongside the creative director of Mother of Pearl, Amy Powney, who embarks on a journey to make a fully sustainable fashion collection. Becky’s fact got me thinking more about circular fashion and how the growing movement towards a more sustainable fashion industry, and consumer activism, is currently being led by fashion rental.

One the biggest players in the UK fashion rental market, HURR focuses on providing a concise edit of high-end brands, with occasion-appropriate wearability, with everything from Cecilie Bahnsen (from around £100 for 4 days) to Ganni (from as little as £29), alongside an array of luxury accessories.

Launched at Christmas in 2018, HURR offers a peer-to-peer rental service on its website, app and physical space in London’s Selfridges, where users can rent out their own clothes or rent clothes from others – promoting a circular way of thinking for its users. Since launching HURR, founder Victoria Prew, has raised over £4 million in funding and secured commercial partnerships with retail giants Selfridges and MATCHESFASHION and fashion brands such as Ganni and Mulberry. Featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2021, Victoria has recently been nominated as a Finalist for the Veuve Clicquot Bold Future Award, which recognised female entrepreneurship.

Because caught up with Victoria to find out more…

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind HURR and how it came to be?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of reinventing ownership and the sharing economy - why can’t we access amazing things for shorter periods of time? As a millennial myself I’ve witnessed the monumental rise of sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. As consumers, we rent our cars and our houses, so my 'lightbulb' moment came when I considered our wardrobes, why can’t we rent those too?

How do you see HURR fitting into the broader fashion industry landscape, and what makes it unique compared to other fashion rental services?
HURR is a hybrid rental model that combines peer-to-peer, fashion rental for 130 plus exclusive brand partners and powers via their SaaS white-label solution rental on behalf of the UK’s leading retailers Selfridges, Flannels and Matches Fashion. All HURR technology is 100% proprietary and we are able to use our Marketplace insights to create a highly scalable rental solution for any leading fashion retailer and brand.

How does HURR ensure the quality and authenticity of the clothing and accessories that are rented out through the platform?
With over 45,000 listings across the HURR platform, trust and security are the beating heart of the business. With top lenders making over £40,000 per annum from their wardrobes - we accept over 700 designers, and items over a £90 RRP and under 3 years old.
As a tech-first platform, everything you need to securely lend your wardrobe we have under one roof - insurance, security deposits and ID verification to prevent issues.

Can you talk about any notable collaborations or partnerships that HURR has formed with designers or retailers?
Last year, we launched our “Now & Then” edit, offering a range of buzzy, emerging designers like Sinead O’Dwyer and Masha Popova, both of whom made their LFW debut this season. The edit also features a range of pieces from Bethany Williams, including her signature book bags which marked a really exciting shift for fashion rental.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you've learned as a founder of a startup in the fashion industry?
I've always been obsessed with the idea of "reinventing ownership" in fashion and never understood the linear model that's dominated the industry for so long, it never made any sense to me. The circular economy is, without question, the most exciting opportunity within the fashion industry and the time for change is now (not in 5-10 years) so I've learnt to stay true to my gut instinct about the opportunity HURR presents.

What is your vision for the future of HURR, and how do you see it evolving over the next few years?
The HURR hybrid model will be the next billion-dollar business in the rental space. Our most recent £4M funding round was closed in November 2021 and was led by Octopus Ventures who were early backers of Depop. HURR has been funding-led since launch and all investment has been used for tech development and growth, so we can build out the best hybrid rental model in the business. The future is truly BOLD for HURR and I am excited to watch us continue to grow.

How do you think fashion rental and sharing can contribute to a more sustainable and circular fashion economy, and what role does HURR play in that?
Rental is a key form of discovery in fashion. We see HURR largely as a way to discover luxury, whilst reinventing what traditional “ownership” means in fashion. Our mission is to empower our community to buy less and buy better - investing in pieces they will love for years to come and renting the rest.

What advice would you give to someone considering renting fashion items for the first time, and why should they choose HURR as their platform of choice?
I loved the idea that someone who had never rented before would have their first ‘ah ha’ moment on HURR and never look back. With over 45,000 pieces available, there really is something for everyone. Think beyond occasion-wear, have you got a ski trip coming up? HURR will have you covered! Looking for a tailored suit for a job interview? Got you covered.

Tell us more about your recent nomination for the 2023 Bold Future Award by Veuve Clicquot?
For the last fifty years, Veuve Clicquot has celebrated trailblazing female leadership and we have shone a spotlight on some of the UK’s most inspirational leaders, so walking in the footsteps of some incredible women is a huge honour.

To be recognised by such a prestigious award as the Veuve Clicquot BOLD Future award for the success of HURR is really exciting for me personally, but I also hope to inspire other women. To be it, you need to be able to see it and it’s incredibly important that we celebrate exceptional women so that together, we can build really big businesses!

Join the rental revolution hurrcollective.com