US fashion hire site Rent the Runway (RTR) has launched a subscription service called Unlimited that grants access to three premium pieces at any given time for a flat monthly fee. The move taps into the growing rental economy – 35% of 25- to 34-year-olds in the UK and US are highly responsive to renting (Westfield, 2016).
In the current online marketplace, everyone’s on the hunt for the “next Netflix” – and, as indicated by the latest in start-up investment news, the search doesn’t stop at fashion’s door. Le Tote, a company that allows women to rent out clothing and accessories to rent and return. Operating on a subscription model, the service made tech headlines this week with news that it has acquired substantial new Series A funding worth $8.8 million from Azure Capital Partners (other pitchers in the round included Simon Venture Group, who are running our Decoded Fashion competition at SXSW). With the tech industry clearly ready to back these kinds of ventures, is rental fast replacing retail as the e-commerce model of choice? Or is it just another fast fashion fad?