We catch up with Bernadette Olivier, CEO of The Volte, and get the lowdown on renting a dress online like a pro.
What are some of the positive things about renting designer fashion?
Renting a dress has many advantages – you save money and you also are consuming fashion sustainably by renting a dress you may only wear once. It’s always better to rent an authentic, well-made designer dress which is produced with ethical supply chains rather than purchasing a fast fashion copy.
The fast fashion industry causes immense harm to the environment and, in many incidences in the third world, it still treats it workers poorly. There still continues to be major concern regarding the supply chain that produces fast fashion, with the majority of these workers being women who are not paid a living wage or treated humanely.
Renting also means you can experiment and borrow a dress that perhaps you would not normally purchase but is perfect for a high stakes event. The Volte stocks dresses with sequins, daring cuts and bright colours that are perfect for formal events but may not be a highly utilized item in your wardrobe. Finally, with the rise of social media, we find younger generations wish to be photographed in different dresses at each event. Renting allows you to have fun with fashion sustainably and ethically.
What advice would you give someone looking to rent a formal dress for the first time?
Look for a classic dress you know you’ll feel confident in. You can experiment with colours or fabric but classic cuts always flatter. Well-made dresses from celebrated Australian designers like Alex Perry, Rebecca Vallance, Zimmermann and Aje suit many different figures and are made from gorgeous fabrics. At The Volte we cater for all ages and sizes. Carla Zampatti, Ginger & Smart, KitX and Bianca Spender cross generations with their flattering silhouettes and stunning colours. If you’re ever worried or overwhelmed by the choices you can always reach out to our 7 day a week customer service team who are always happy to assist.
How does renting a formal dress work?
You simply search by your size and the date of your event. Once you find a dress that you like you can then put in a request. The lender will approve the request and courier you the dress. It’s best to always put the request in for the dress to arrive 1-2 days before your event – hire periods are for 4 or 8 days. At the end of the rental period, you simply put the dress in the included self-addressed satchel and return it to the lender. Cleaning is handled by the lender and included in the price. If there are any concerns or worries our team is always available to help.
What advice would you give to someone who is between sizes who’s worried that renting a formal dress is too complicated for them?
Our team can provide accurate measurements for all gowns on our site. We can also provide guidance about the most popular dresses for ages, sizes, event dress codes and designers. If for some reason the dress isn’t what you expected, The Volte can arrange a back-up dress in any capital city. We have over 20,000 lenders all over Australia – we’ve rarely had a dress emergency that we haven’t been able to solve. Like with everything – the more you shop online, the more familiar you become with sizes, cuts and designers that suit you.
How can you try the dress on first?
We are able to arrange try-ons with lenders in the same city. Many of our lenders are more than happy to offer this service.
Could you provide tips for accessorising the dress if you don’t have it with you?
The community we’ve built on The Volte is amazing. Our customers are always discussing how best to accessorise dresses and offering to include jewelry or other items to ensure that borrowers feel a million dollars. Our styling team is also always available – we look at these dresses all day and have seen many of our customers style different dresses in different ways.
What advice do you have about returning the dress once you’re finished with it?
Simply pop it in the return satchel provided by the lender and put it in a yellow post box or hand it in to your local post office. No need to dry clean. This is included in the price and handled by the lender.
Is there anything else you think people should know?
Our customer service is key to The Volte’s success. Despite being a marketplace, our customer service is hands on and follows the flow of every transaction. We are always available to help and assist whether it be styling choices, tracking items or arranging last minute dresses if you suddenly realise you need an urgent dress.
About The Volte
As one of the world’s largest designer rental marketplaces, The Volte has disrupted traditional fashion paradigms, allowing individuals to monetize their designer wardrobes and earn income without holding any inventory. Boasting a remarkable surge in popularity, with monthly bookings doubling in 2023, the platform currently hosts over 70,000 dresses and engages a vibrant community of 300,000 monthly active users. Find out more here.