Written by Ed Crawford
You’ve seen the newest pieces of luxury fashion make their way down the catwalk, and now you want a taste. The problem is, you don’t have the budget to meet your desires. Luckily for you, the latest luxury trend is seeing a variety of retailers offer high-end fashion items on loan, giving you the opportunity to live the luxury life for a fraction of the cost.
The leader in this market, Rent the Runway, allows users the chance to borrow luxury items either for the short term or on a subscriber basis. With the popularity of luxury products skyrocketing but consumers still unwilling to spend, Rent the Runway is carving out a lucrative niche. Last summer they reported a user base of 5 million, renting over $800 million in retail value of clothing and accessories in a single year.
Armarium, another brand taking advantage of the trend for on-loan fashion, makes use of a global network of stylists to offer users a more bespoke service. Through their invitation only app, consumers can book appointments with the ‘Style Brigade’, selecting outfits fresh from the catwalk to wear on a temporary basis.
These services give consumers the opportunity model boutique, high-end items for events and special occasions without having to blow the budget. They are examples of brands that have recognised a growing gap in the market, effectively bridging the gap between aspirational consumers and exclusive luxury designers and retailers.
What these two rapidly growing brands also demonstrate is that consumers are increasingly willing to embrace the sharing economy, even within the luxury sphere. As the vertiginous rise of Airbnb and WeWork demonstrates, today’s consumers are happy to take their products and services on a temporary basis to maximise convenience and minimise spend. Even those with a little extra cash in the back pocket are now getting involved.