The next big trend in fashion? Sharing!
Sharing economy is upon us. The trend has started long time ago but has been booming in the past several years with the creations of social sharing services (Asmama, Taskrabbit), peer-to-peer accommodations (Coachsurfing, Airbnb), bike and car sharing and now fashion. Why buy clothes when you can rent it? There is so much good behind the idea. Instead of buying a 300$ dress to wear for a wedding or a party and then storing it in the closet for half a year or more (because who wears the same dress to consecutive parties? That would mess up my Instagram feed!), you can just browse through rental outfits online, choose something you like and have it delivered to your door. Plus, fashion is so time sensitive. I may invest 400$ into a leather vest only to realize that it is so 2013 and nobody cares anymore. And think about how much money and closet space you can actually save! I’d rather rent a Prada bag for 5000 yen for FNO than become the sole owner of it for 200000 yen and have my toddler spill juice all over it. After all high-end designer bags are for show-offs. A 150$ Baggu bag or 300$ Liebeskind bag are much better choices for daily use. So much more comfortable. How wonderful would it be to store in the closet only the things you use on a daily basis, your basics, your favorites and having the rest rented for the appropriate occasion. I came across several services that are representing this new business model in Japan. They are not yet fully developed or provide a wide enough range of options but I am sure they will get there and when they do, I am going to be in the ranks of their loyal customers for sure.
So how does the magic happen? Usually, rentals are offered through a monthly membership plan (basic, premium or VIP). Shipping and cleaning is free (already included in the rental price). You register your sizes and brand preferences that become the baseline for the service when they create a wardrobe for you. You are also free to browse the items yourself within your membership plan.
Here are several services that I found in Japan:
Air closet operates based on a fixed monthly membership fee of 6.800 yen + tax. Every month you will receive 3 items that have been carefully selected for you by Air closet stylists. You cannot choose the items yourself but you can create a favorite list by browsing their item catalog. It will be used by service as a guideline when creating your looks. Offered items are ranging in price from several thousand yen to the maximum of 30000 yen per item. There is no deadline for returning the items. You can wear them as long as you like. When you do choose to return them, cleaning and shipping will be covered by the service. You can leave ratings for the stylists later on. For now, Air closet is only dealing with clothing items (no bags or shoes yet).
Licie is an actual shop in Shinjuku and but they plan to open an online service too in the early June 2015. There is also going to be a 3 day popup shop opened in Harajuku from March 20th to March 22nd. They offer three plans:
Trial – 500 yen for one piece of clothing. Maximum rental period is 1 week.
Basic – 1000 yen for 3 pieces of clothing. Maximum rental period is 1 week.
Premium – 3000 yen for up to 10 pieces of clothing. Maximum rental period is 1 week.
Unlike Air closet that only deals with clothes from 1000 to 30000 yen in retail price, Licie offers high-end brands such as Fendi, Burberry, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Gucci as well as low-end fast fashion from Zara, Nice Claup etc. You can check coordinated looks on their Instagram account @licie_official as well as post your own.
You can return the items either by bringing them back to the store or sending via mail (on your own dime). You can also choose to buy the item if you really like it. Professional styling services are free of charge. There are several fun perks available to the customers such as selfie photobooth and free drinks at a small cafe. The service offers shoes, bags and accessories as well.
Sustina – deals with everything – you can rent, purchase or sell clothes, shoes, bags, accessories. At the end of March, the service is planning to go live as an app for iPhone and Android.
Monthly rental plan is fixed to 5.800 yen + tax. You can borrow 5 items per one time but can borrow another 5 after returning your previous order. There are no restrictions on how long you can keep the items. Shipping and cleaning services are free. You can also buy the item if you like it.
The service is mostly dealing with middle-end brands such as A.P.C., Agnes b., Hysteric glamour, See by Chloe, Jill Stuart occasionally also offering Burberry and Isabel Marant. It also offers an extensive selection from what you can typically find in Lumine, 109, Marui department stores – KBF, Snidel, Moussy, Beams, Tomorrowland, Ships etc.
I am getting excited by the minute. I have signed myself up to all three of them so stay tuned for more posts on how rental fashion is about to change my son’s life by putting him through college (on all the money that I save on shopping :)).