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Something Borrowed – The Latest on the Show Clothing Rental

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114 – March/April 2019


Renting show clothing? You bet, say more companies than ever. It’s part of a recent upswing in the show clothing rental business. What began as a remote possibility of success is now emerging as a viable option, after much speculation about how the practice might really work.

Clothing rental is not a new concept. Gown and tuxedo rental has been part of popular culture for a long time. But, lately, it has become a booming business with well-known companies such as Rent the Runway, Couture Collective, and Gwynnie Bee, to name a few. Another industry with similarities to the horse show world is the pageant business. According to Gail Peteler, a satisfied customer of a pioneer in show clothing rental, the Berry Fit Company, pageant participants often buy a high-end gown and then continue to rent it to other contestants. Not only do they get back some of their investment, but they can avoid appearing in the same gown repeatedly.

It was only a matter of time before today’s entrepreneurs figured out a way to make horse show clothing rental happen. As recent as last year’s Quarter Horse Congress, more companies were offering their pieces for rent; because, let’s face it, not everyone can swing writing a big check for a show outfit, despite the intricate work and time put into those pieces by designers.

How It Works

The options for renting can vary from vendor to vendor, and one of the first to develop a successful program, Carolyn Berry of the Berry Fit Company based in New Philadelphia, Ohio, turned her rental system into a fine-tuned machine. Through Berry Fit, customers can rent a garment at a show or online. Rentals can be per day, and up to a whole show season of eight months. The designer prorates fees based upon time frame and bases the rental price on the retail value of the outfit. “For example, a $5,000 jacket would be $350 for a day fee, $1,000 for a month, and $1,750 for an 8-month period,” Berry says. “There would be a refundable deposit of $400 as well. The total price range goes from $500-$1,400 per month and $800-$2,450 for the 8-month period.”

Click here to read the complete article
114 – March/April 2019
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