Clothing rental options for pregnancy, baby clothes, kids formal wear and vintage

13 May 2021
Clothing rental options for pregnancy, baby clothes, vintage and kids formal wear
Photo from Mama Rentals


As a child of the 90s I watched many characters on TV and in movies look through their large closets bursting with clothes moaning they had nothing to wear - the only remedy was more clothes. If characters were feeling sad, a trip to mall would soothe their feelings. Fashion magazines would print photos of curated celebrity wardrobes filled with the latest trends, sold as a shiny sign of success and happiness. Is it any wonder my generation became obsessed with fashion, centring shopping as a cure for everything and believing having more to be the marker of a well lived life? 

By the mid 90s fast fashion brands made it easier to get the latest “wardrobe essentials” helping to fill the void of having “nothing.” Copies of the latest celebrity style would turn up in stores within a fortnight at an affordable price.

As companies revenue climbed and fast fashion brands were hailed heroes for getting those much needed styles into stores quickly, many of us were unaware of the full breadth of exploitation garment workers and their communities faced beyond the occasional child labour story that made the news.

The amount of clothing created and sold has grown to unprecedented levels, with most fast fashion brands today churning out micro-seasons, some even one each week according to The Good Trade. The impact of fashion and the realisation our overall consumption levels need to slow down has people searching for ways to reduce their wardrobes impact.

According to an article by UNSW Newsroom, the clothing rental industry is a growing area, fuelled by millennials and Generation Z's desire to shop with intention. Glam Corner, The Volte, Style Theory, Designerex are just some of the mainstream Australian online options. Then there are local business like Yours + Mine in Adelaide and other similar stores around the Country.  

Renting clothing is not a new business model. Hiring formal wear like mens suits and dresses has been around for decades. I even looked into renting a dress for my wedding and hired a hat for the races (back when I went to the races...).

Personally I'm a fan of the clothing rental idea and think it can offer solutions to those moments in our lives when we might only need a clothing item for one event or short period of our lives. Then there are parts of I'm not a fan, like the clothing subscription boxes. I think the setup is similar to fast fashion and continues the “i need more” narrative.

But what I do look forward to is the niche markets expanding and this blog post is going to show you four Australian online businesses leading the clothing rental revolution in pregnancy, baby clothes, vintage wear and kids formal wear.


Mama Rentals - Pregnancy

For most people pregnancy can alter the shape of your body making it hard to fit into anything already in your wardrobe. Should a special event pop up its not really worth it to buy a new dress or spend time visiting the non existent maternity section at the local Op Shop.

Alice was of the same mindset and saw a gap in the market for pregnant people wanting a hire a pregnancy friendly formal dress for baby showers, blessings, weddings, maternity photo shoots and other important occasions. Mama Rentals stocks sustainable brands like Fillyboo, and also sources from Reclamation and more. While all dresses are bump friendly they can be hired by non pregnant people too. Mama Rentals has expanded to include the hire of accessories and dresses for young girls.

The thing is pregnancy is only for nine months, and investing in a new wardrobe can take not only a lot of money but also time. I have to say pregnancy clothing is an area of the rental market I'd be interested to see expand.

Alice is passionate about zero-waste encouraging her customers to send back the used compostable satchel with their dress so she can look after the composting. Perfect if you don't have a backyard option.


Clothing rental options for pregnancy, baby clothes, kids formal wear and vintage
Photo by Conscious Koala

Conscious Koala - Baby clothes

Babies grow very, very quickly. If you are like me finding secondhand organic, ethical and sustainable clothing made of natural fibres without bleach or non toxic dyes is difficult. Hard as in you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Here is where I don't mind a subscription box because it's kind of needed with the growth spurts a new child goes through.

Each box contains 14 items of clothing including day and night wear. When you are ready the clothes can be shipped back (even with stains because babies will baby!) and move up to the next size. The clothes you send back will be cleaned and sent onto the next family. Any items that are beyond wear are recycled. Your clothing will be sent in compostable packaging too. 

Concious Koala offer gift cards, the perfect baby shower gift.

Yarn Yarns - Vintage

Yarn Yarns is based in Melbourne selling and renting vintage clothing. I have been a customer myself, hiring a cute jumpsuit for a panel event with 1 Million Women (photo below). Sadly due to the Melbourne lockdowns last year they had to close their bricks and mortar store in Northcote. Thankfully they are still selling and renting online. At present the rental part of the website is not up but customers may contact Yarn Yarns if they see a piece they would like to hire. I'll be sure to update the information here once the rentals side of the website is ready.


Small Smarts - Kid's formal wear

There can be a lot of formal events and roles young kids might need an outfit for. Think weddings, pageboys, christenings, birthdays, family photoshoot, really the list is long. Small Smarts provide a one stop place to hire for those fancy occasions. There are options for both boys and girls from 6 months to 10 years, and yes there are accessories available. Rental periods are four – eight days, and include a paid return bag for easy shipping. 


Renting clothing has many benefits like reducing waste, saving money, and slowing down our consumption of new clothing. I don't think hiring will be the core solution to the high volumes of clothing being made – there are many different layers that need addressing. If anything I hope the growing popularity of rentals, hiring, and borrowing will help question our need to own all the things and truly look after them since its being shared with other. I'm excited to see if other areas of the clothing sector could be hired rather than owned. School uniforms? Activewear? Outdoor adventure gear? Perhaps dear reader you're working on an idea right now.

If you know of other Australian businesses that offer clothing rentals in niche markets send me an email via the contact page as I'm still trying to get the comments section fixed.

Powered by Blogger.