Clothing rental services proliferate
Millennials have disrupted the retail landscape as a generation of NOwners who prefer access over ownership. Their desire to not be weighed down by possessions is particularly pronounced when it comes to apparel, as evidenced by the growing popularity of Rent The Runway and similar services that let them rent clothing from individual brands and other people. Given consumer demand, boutique clothing brands have recently launched rental offerings, too.
Renting clothes aligns with young consumers’ aspiration to be minimalists, as well as their desire to make sustainable fashion choices. Rebecca Taylor is catering to these values with the recent launch of RNTD, a flat-rate clothing rental service. For $159/month, users get access to four items at once and can exchange them as many times as they’d like within the timespan. They can even send an item back to have it washed for free and order it again. If they want to keep an item it can be purchased afterward at a discount.
Much like Rebecca Taylor, Vince recently launched a clothing rental program for its womenswear line that offers users access to four garments at a time for $160/month with unlimited exchanges during that period. Members of Vince UNFOLD get free shipping and dry cleaning of items, and the ability to purchase anything they like at a discount after trying it out. Such services also appeal to Millennials in allowing them to manage their spending on apparel; they can budget for a set monthly cost in this category, while still feeling that they have a high-quality wardrobe of the latest styles.
On Friday evenings at the SoHo location of Ba&sh, a French womenswear brand, visitors can borrow items for free to wear for the weekend, so long as they return them by Monday at 7pm. Renters simply leave their credit card number, but aren’t charged if the garment is brought back on time. This initiative allows shoppers to become more familiar with Ba&sh and develop a relationship with the brand, even if they aren’t ready to make a purchase yet. The free rental program is part of a larger push to make the store a welcoming space, as it also hosts monthly supper clubs, weekly free French breakfast, and subsidized French lessons.