I have been following Budapest fashion scene for years and although we have more and more options when it comes to vintage stores, small fashion boutiques with emerging designers, or unique handmade pieces, I feel there is still a gap when we are searching for a special occasion dresses. Imagine that you have a wedding or some cocktail party to attend? Are you going to buy a new dress even if you know you are going to wear it only once? High end designers pieces can be quite expensive and options to find something suitable in Budapest are rather limited. Have you ever thought to rent a dress?

Last week I met Melanie – the owner of MyCloset offering designer, high-end dress rentals and personal styling. We had and extensive conversation about fashion business, its impact on our environment and also the overall condition of Budapest fashion scene.

I started the business just over a year ago. My friends – and myself –  were attending a variety formal events and often they asked to borrow my dresses as they couldn’t find anything to wear in Budapest. We also agreed that it seems silly to spend money to only wear something once.

More and more textiles are being produced every year and being just thrown away – even by the top designer brands. So borrowing or renting your dress it just makes the most sense for your budget in the planet.

Renting can also save your closet space, which we all know can be at a premium here in Budapest. Clothes you wear for just one occasion usually just pile up in your closet. Long gowns are big pieces take space to store. Borrowing dresses can save you valuable space.

I also really love giving women the opportunity to wear designer labels and styles they’ve never worn before. I like giving women a choice to experience fashion in a way that suits both their budgets and their lifestyles.

I rent a wide variety of dresses  In a variety of sizes.. Dresses that would be perfect for a job interview, cocktail hour or black tie gala’s. All are well-made designer brands that will last through repeated wear.

Two ways. I try to look for dresses that are unavailable in the European market. It means I do the majority of my buying in the US. And then of course I’m always looking for dresses that are more sustainably made in the first place.

Renting dresses is easy. You simply fill out a form, leave a deposit take the dress with you and bring it back in 4 days. Prices range from 8000 to 25,000. We’re happy to negotiate longer periods of rental – and we do all the dry cleaning.

I communicate with my clients through our Facebook page or through our email is best. That way we can book your personalized appointment and schedule it easily.

Starting a business is never easy, but because I am a dual American &  Hungarian citizen and I speak both languages fluently, it certainly helped.

I think one of the biggest surprises was just realizing how self-conscious some women can be. I’ll sometimes see a beautiful client but she doesn’t want to show her arms or doesn’t want to dress that short. It’s been interesting discovering peoples personal styles and then trying to find dresses to accommodate.

At my closet, our core business is dress rental but we do occasionally work with other female entrepreneurs and feature their jewellery lines or hats. I look forward to more collaborations like that in the future.

The fashion industry here in Budapest is obviously smaller than other international cities but there are some fabulous designers here. There are also some great sustainable designers and I would be happy to have some of their pieces in my closet – but I don’t yet.

My future plans are to try and educate the Hungarian consumer to the fact that the damage that cheap throwaway fashion can have. Social media tries to convince people they can’t wear an outfit more than once which is just increased fast fashion consumption. Overall it would be great if people became more environmentally and ethically aware. A lot of people do you still worry that renting or buying something second hand means your “cheap”. I am hoping to help change that understanding and help create more conscious consumers.

MyCloset has quickly become the go-to location for many expats living in Budapest but also an increasing number of locals who would like to find the right outfit for a special occasion without spending a fortune. If you wish to see what type of dresses you can find in MyCloset follow their Facebook fan page or visit their website. You can book a personal appointment and try on one of the many dresses in their showroom located at Bathory utca 9.

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