What does the future hold for fashion rental? #773


Ralph Mansour, co-founder and CEO of Le Closet, a clothing rental company, invited three speakers, Yann Rivoallan (FPAPF), Marie Dupin and Jessica Almeida (Nellyrodi), to a meeting in Paris on 20 June to discuss clothing rental.

Launched by the American company Rent the Runway in 2009, the global online clothing rental market continues to grow. Between now and 2027, it is expected to grow by 10.6% each year. What’s more, 48% of French people have already heard of rental and are increasingly interested in it (Kantar Worldpanel study, December 2022). These figures suggest that, in future, rental could become a reflex, just like second-hand cars.

Inspired by Rent the Runway’s success in the US market (sales of $270 million and a 38% increase in the number of subscribers by 2022), several companies and brands have set out in Europe to replicate this model. But the challenge is considerable: many of them have not succeeded in creating a robust and sustainable business model, due to a lack of positioning and a product offering tailored to the specific characteristics of fashion consumption in Europe, or a lack of innovation.

Against this backdrop, Le Closet is proving to be a successful player, with around 205,000 closets (boxes) delivered over the last twelve months of the year, or 27 items of clothing per subscriber.

What are French women’s main expectations of rental in the future?

Jessica Almeida spoke on this subject, pointing out that, on average, we only wear between 40 and 50 per cent of our wardrobes (Boston Consulting Group x Vestiaire Collective study, 2021).

According to the NellyRodi x Le Closet focus groups, organised with renters and non-renters, in 2023, renting is seen as a constraint, “there are a lot of logistics: travelling, returning the parcel, etc.”, an expense “I don’t see the point, whereas with Vinted, I earn money”, and unhygienic.

On the positive side, renting is suitable for ceremonies: “for an evening or a wedding, I don’t want to have the same outfit twice”; it gives you a clear conscience: “you don’t have to ask yourself whether it’s responsible or not”; it saves money: “I don’t have to pay for a really expensive dress for every occasion”; it allows you to renew your wardrobe and be daring: “I’ve rented it, I test it and if it doesn’t suit me, I can return it”.

Clothes for hire, or how to reconcile pleasure with a clear conscience

86% of the customers surveyed by Le Closet believe that this way of shopping revolutionises the way we consume, and that it’s a first step towards responsible consumption. 82% are motivated by the idea of having access to an unlimited wardrobe and being able to change their style every day. 40% of respondents consider that they have made savings of more than 50%.

As with second-hand clothing, is renting the answer to the power of fast fashion? The answer could well be yes.

Read more – Fashion United