Here's how it feels to be a luxury girlie for just a few months.
I bought my first designer bag at the start of last year, a satchel bag from Coach. I was a few months into my new job and I thought ‘why not treat myself?’ - it was a big deal and I wanted to celebrate.
Prior to this though, I was a bit indifferent to luxury purchases.
My mum and my sister both have their fair share of designer bags. In fact, my mum had a White Chanel bag that was ruined by two-year-old me, who rubbed red lipstick all over it (there goes my family heirloom). Though I grew up seeing these fancy bags I still didn’t see the appeal because I wasn’t sure if they were worth the money.
But when I received my Coach bag, I fell in love. The craftsmanship, the design, and the colour, all suddenly made me a designer bag believer. It quickly became my go-to bag and my interest in designer bags continued to grow.
I practically went from a luxury bag skeptic to a lover overnight. My Tiktok saves are now riddled with ‘the designer bag of the season’, ‘which designer bag is worth the money,’ and ‘my top five designer purchases.’
I then stumbled upon Cocoon, a luxury bag subscription. Unlike other rental companies, Cocoon has a membership service.
You pay a certain amount a month which allows you to rent the bag of your dreams out for a specific period of time. When I went to their website, my eyes widened when I saw the big names like Prada, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Jacquemu. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
I signed up and for three months I was given the opportunity to cosplay as a luxury girl and I absolutely loved it.
if you’ve ever wanted to rent a designer bag, here’s an honest review of @Vivrelle & a tour of their showroom in NYC!
♬ Bejeweled - Taylor Swift
But Cocoon isn’t the only renting platform that is on the rise. Platforms like Hurr, ByRotation, and MyWardrobe HQ have all shot up in popularity over the last year with more consumers realising they don’t have to fork out a lot of money to wear something of value.
I opted for the Louis Vuitton Montaigne BB Handbag in Monogram Canvas which costs around £2200. I brought that bag everywhere I could and I felt great doing so.
However, I started to feel like a bit of a fraud. Whilst waiting for my boyfriend in Starbucks, a stranger approached me and told me she loved my bag. “Thanks, I rented it!” I replied.
After saying that I had to ask myself why I felt the need to tell her it wasn’t mine to keep.
Maybe it’s because she had some sort of an idea of the person she thought I was, an idea I didn’t feel that I matched up to.
But my feelings about imposter syndrome aren’t particularly strange according to Sara, a brand manager for Styburch.
“If a person is not accustomed to wearing expensive clothing or
accessories, they may feel like they are trying to be someone they are not, by wearing luxury items,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety, as they may feel like they
don’t belong in the social or professional settings where luxury items are commonly worn.”
But, it seems that several people think the concept of renting designer bags is strange.
People renting designer bags 🙁
— ØP (@OmobaPaul) April 27, 2021
somebody said y’all out here renting designer bags???🧐🤨
— ♱ (@PIMPCESSE_) December 27, 2019
Y’all renting designer bags ????
— 🖤 (@tameradenisee) August 23, 2022
When we think of people wearing designer bags we think of self-made people, influencers, and celebrities, not someone from a working-class background. If you can’t afford to buy it, why would you feel the need to rent it?
However, this rental company shared that the majority of the customers are footballers, rappers, and celebrities as they spend most of their money on clothes they don’t wear.
The fashion industry and media often reinforce the idea that luxury items are synonymous with success and exclusivity.
“The constant exposure to images of celebrities, influencers, and other individuals wearing designer items can create a sense of pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations,” Sara adds.
Sara explained to us that “when a person feels like they cannot attain these symbols of success, they may experience feelings of inadequacy and doubt in their ability to achieve their goals.”
This, according to Sara, can lead to a cycle of self-doubt and insecurity, which may be exacerbated by wearing luxury items that they cannot afford.
Even though I saw my family members purchasing designer items, I didn’t grow up surrounded by luxury items, which makes me feel like I can’t connect with that world.
“Individuals who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may have a more profound sense of disconnection from the world of luxury items,” Sara adds.
After spending more time with my bag I realised that yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also just a bag. I love the fact that I’m able to tap into the luxury world without spending a fortune whilst saving the environment. A spokesperson from Cocoon says they believe that everyone should be able to experience the best brands and styles without the commitment of purchasing.
“Our model is perfect for those who want to experiment with different brands and designs, as well as for those who might want to invest in luxury bags they’ve always dreamed of owning (members enjoy being able to ‘test drive’ bags in the collection, to make a more informed purchase decision).”
They understand that some people may be put off from renting a luxury piece as it might make them feel less luxurious, but that isn’t the case. “Our mission is to give everyone access to the best luxury brands and styles, so that our members can express their personal style in a way that feels authentic and effortless,” they say.
“We believe that fashion has the power to transform confidence, and that feeling is what we want our members to experience every time they carry a bag from the COCOON collection. It’s also a super fun and exciting service to fold into your routine.”
Here’s hoping that I’ll be making more luxury purchases in the future, but for now, here’s to renting some expensive goods.