How safe will it be to rent clothes in the post-Covid-19 world?

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Post-pandemic concerns are affecting businesses and the rental clothing market is not immune to it. While consumers feel that it could be a great way to keep expenses in check, hygiene concerns about rental outfits do create skepticism.

Gurugram resident Aashika Tuli had rented designer wear last year for her wedding festivities and feels that it’s more relevant now. She also opines that now is the time to re-evaluate expenses, make conscious choices and support small businesses.“It’s scary to think of visiting Chandni Chowk (Delhi) to pick an outfit. I’d rather rent, especially when it is time to move towards sustainability,” says Tuli.

The key players in the rental biz too resonate with the new wiser purchase decisions of millennial and believe that the pandemic is a wake-up call to stop overusing the planet’s resources. The fashion rental services will be implementing stringent safety measures to ensure hygiene. Sanchit Baweja, co-founder of Stage3 says, “The rental service will continue to use a variety of techniques to ensure that each garment is thoroughly cleaned, steamed and pressed, and carefully sanitised and packed so that it arrives ready for our customer. All our outfits go through a wet or dry cleaning process and a steaming process with heat over 250 °F, which is known to kill any flu related viruses.”

Fashion designers, however, have concerns. Designer Nachiket Barve feels that dry cleaning just offsets the sustainability factor. “But consumers opting for it depend on the process of sanitisation,” he says. To this, designer Shantanu Mehra adds, “The future of rental clothing post pandemic doesn’t look very bright as customers wouldn’t want to wear clothes that have exchanged more hands.” Designer Abhinav Mishra also says, “While logistically it could be a great idea to rent, however the true feeling of couture lies in owning a particular piece and creating memories with it.”

So, how safe is renting clothes in the post-Covid-19 world? Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, a dermatologist, says, “I’d suggest to keep it avoidable. This pandemic has taught us a lesson about essential needs. Sharing clothes can lead to infections, not just Covid-19. For example, if the person who wore the outfit earlier had a cut, it could be dangerous for the next person. It is the time for not only social distancing but also physical distancing.”

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