Clothes may make a man but it's the budget that is making the cut for most women in the UAE.
Recently, leading bridal-wear designers at the Dubai Bride Show advised brides not to worry about their wedding gowns, especially with the variety on offer.
But, with costs for essentials surging, many women — with a need to stay fashion forward — have switched to alternatives to ensure tailor-made does not necessarily translate into a biscuits-and-water diet until the next paycheque arrives.
When Silvia Gomes, an events manager for a firm in Dubai, was informed that she would be required to attend a red-carpet event — because of the nature of her job — she knew that investing in a designer gown for one night would impact her budget for the rest of the month.
Style for a song
She turned to Sevda Fashion House for a solution. The answer came in the form of Sevda Jalil, the boutique's owner, who introduced Gomes to the world of rental gowns.
"Ever since then I have always rented gowns for any special occasion. It is cost-effective and I can be assured I'll have something new to wear each time. I would rather rent than buy an outfit that languishes in the wardrobe after a few uses," Gomes said.
She is not alone. According to Jalil, the boutique has seen an 80 per cent increase in the number of women renting gowns since 2009.
Jalil also added that most women were looking for cost-effective solutions ever since the global recession forced them to tighten their purse strings.
Depending on the make of the dress, gowns to rent at Sevda Fashion House are priced from anywhere between Dh1,000-Dh5,000.
"Most women opt to rent as making a new dress, especially a wedding gown, would set them back by Dh25,000." Jalil said.
The majority of her clientele comprises Emirati women who rent the gowns for parties and weddings.
Despite the popularity of rental gowns, Jalil said ther are downsides of designers who rent out their creations instead of selling them. "It may be helping the client but we incur loss when you compare the pros and cons on the balance sheet. I'm against the concept but need to adjust with the times. It is even more infuriating when gowns are returned damaged and a beautiful creation is destroyed forever," she added.
Save the planet
If saving on cash and being able to afford a new dress at your convenience does not sound good enough for you to rent clothes, think again.
According to the UK Government's waste watchdog, The Waste and Resource Action Programme (Wrap), renting clothes can actually help save the planet. More use of used clothes and cutting down on new purchases can stop goods from being discarded before their time and reduce the time taken for manufacturing too. Wrap says this could help meet climate-change targets.
Where to look
Rent gowns in Dubai
Call 04 2623280 or 050 684 94 78
Call 04 2623264 or 050 6752199
Aroosat Al Sharq
Call 04 2964246 or 050 4593900
If you are tied for time or feeling too lazy to step out, visit www.weddingdresses.ae to rent designer gowns in Dubai.
tabloid! on Saturday loves the Elie Saab bridal dress for Dh4,000.
Rent gowns in Sharjah
Sevda Fashion House
Call 06 5550908 or 050 5668899
Al Zawra Tailoring and Embroidery
Call 06 5530270
Baghdad Tailoring and Embroidery
Call 050 1465632 06 5556727
Call 06 5535338
Prices vary depending on the embellishments and detailing of the gowns. However, there are gowns to suit every pocket size, starting from Dh1,500.