When student Bina Nanavati was invited to an important Indian family wedding six years ago, she had a dilemma. “I had to look my best but all of my outfits were a bit old,” she says, “and although I had the money, I didn’t want to spend £500 on a new outfit.” Becoming more eco-conscious, she was also aware of the impact of fast fashion. “Why buy when you can borrow?” she thought.
Unable to find a company from which to rent an opulent Indian outfit, an idea formed that led her to set up Bollywood Borrowed. The business was established as the world’s first online platform and physical store where customers could hire ready-made Indian outfits for both men and women. Bollywood Borrowed is based on the core principles of accessibility, sustainability and forward-thinking.
With a boutique based in London, Bina rents high-quality Indian clothing at reasonable prices to anyone attending a formal Indian occasion or Bollywood-themed party. Her e-commerce platform takes orders from all over the world, renting clothes at a fraction of the outfits’ retail prices.
Providing a rental service for high-cost formalwear benefits the environment, creating less waste, and is cost-effective for an outfit that might only be worn once or twice. Arguably the biggest driver though? Instagram. “I dread the thought of wearing the same outfit twice, especially with social media,” says Bina. “Renting means I can wear a different outfit every time without having to buy, and no one will ever know. Plus, I live in a tiny apartment in London and don’t have space for these huge lehengas [traditional Indian full-length skirts] in my wardrobe.”
And it seems the service is catching on; Bollywood Borrowed’s clients have included the British royal family, fashion bibles Vogue and Elle, and leading press and TV producers.
Bollywood Borrowed signals the start of a renting revolution and another win for sustainable fashion.