Continuing Fashion as a Service – subscription boxes model previous post, the following article comments on rental clothing.
Millennials are prioritizing experiences over tangible products. They want to feel the adrenaline but without ties, and the sharing economy is helping them to satisfy wider needs like sustainability. Millennial, born-digital companies, are understanding the Experience Economy, creating business models that respond to new shopping behaviors and needs like experience before buying or access to an unlimited collection (long tail effect).
Don´t miss The Fashion Retailer´s latest insights about sustainable brands and circular fashion:
- Circular Economy in Fashion
- Sustainable Fashion
- What if sustainability starts in your closet?
- Apparel sourcing trends
“Fashion as a service” is how the fashion industry is adapting to new customer trends, while putting the customer at the center, not the product. Rental business model respond to a need of access (and continuous freshness) while increasing product lifespan and therefore reaching out one of the objectives of circular economy.
Many of the options below or companies offering rental clothing are covering the need of wearing a special item (e.g. dress, bag) during special occasions like a ceremony or a cocktail party.
FASHION AS A SERVICE: WEAR, RETURN, REPEAT…
Bag Romance is an online boutique for designer handbag rental and sales. Launched in 2015 in Houston, Texas, Bag Romance is part of a growing community of e-tailers in the sharing economy. The company offers a curated luxury bags collection from around the globe and featuring Chanel, Céline, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, YSL and more. A 7 days renting of Louis Vuitton bag valued at $1,430 costs $150, for example.
Bag Romance collaborates with Dress for Success Houston, donating $5 from every order. The mission of Dress for Success Houston is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and life.
Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 by Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss in NYC. In 2019 TIME recognized Rent the Runway’s CEO and Co-Founder, Jennifer Hyman, as one TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 while RTR was one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies also in 2019.
The company rents apparel, accessories, including jewelry and handbags, and sells “essentials,” including lingerie, tights, shapewear, and cosmetics to a community of 9 million members. Their “closet” partners with more than 550 designers including Tory Burch, Marni, The Kooples or Opening Cereminy. RTR recently obtained a $125 million investment that brings the company’s total valuation to $1 billion, the so-called “unicorn” startup status.
After experimenting in different shop-in-shops like Neiman Marcus, today RTR has 5 stores in the US (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC). RTR opened in May 2019 its largest store in San Francisco, a 8,300-sq.-ft. store that includes a co-working space, beauty bar and coffee bar.
RTR flagship in San Francisco
In 2015, just five years after founding Rent the Runway, they launched the Rent the Runway Foundation which created, in partnership with UBS, Project Entrepreneur is on a mission to even the playing field for women in entrepreneurship.
Haute Vault: Founded in 2014, HV is a high-end jewelry rental website that offers diamond jewelry, precious stones, branded and one-of-a-kind italian made creations. According to The New York Times, members can rent pieces worth up to $150,000 by paying an annual membership fee of $350 to $500.
There are no updates on its social media since 2016, but even if closed I feel interesting to be included.
Another Jewelry as a Service startup is Flont, founded in New York in 2017 by Cormac Kinney, a technology entrepreneur with a fine jewelry background. He was president of a global joint venture with Cartier, and President of Mimi So International. Flont´s on loan membership program grants clients access to over 65 brands including Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany. Services include monthly membership, 3-Day rentals, stylist membership and wedding packages. Flont is planning retail stores, where portions of will be leased by our roster of designers.
Le Tote: Founded in 2012 in San Francisco, LE TOTE is a clothing rental subscription service, a fashion discovery platform that connects brands with consumers through a rental model. It offers a service of personal assistance, like The Trunk Club (acquired by Nordstrom), and women can keep what they want as long as they want. It collaborates with influencers too. Le Tote offers international fashion brands but also its private label which was developed in collaboration with top influencers (e.g. Olivia Culpo) and using customers feedback to decide what design, color, fit…to produce.
Fashion as a service is not only giving access to luxury goods but also to other segments that want to enjoy fashion freshness from an experience point of view. The status is not given because of owning the product but wearing it. Urban outfitters latest news is an example of this.
Urban Outfitters: Since 1970, URBN has encouraged customers to express themselves through their wardrobes and the spaces they keep. This coming summer, UO is launching a rental subscription service called Nuuly for women´s apparel. The cost of the service is $88 per month and will allow customers to pick six items. Nuuly will stock over 1,000 styles at launch, with plans to add over 100 new styles a week and triple style count by year’s end.
The assortment will span lifestyle categories, offering everything from premium denim and everyday dresses to seasonal outerwear and coveted vintage pieces, with options in sizes 00-26, including substantial selections of petite and plus-size apparel.
Nuuly is the latest extension of Urban Outfitters mission: a shopping experience that gives customers access to more of the clothes and brands they love through a monthly rental subscription.