Clothing Rentals Gain Popularity As Fashion Takes Over Sharing Economy
Singapore Business Review|April-Jun 2020
Since 2015, a number of clothing rental services have sprung up in Singapore’s retail scene.

Singaporeans are warming up to the slow fashion movement with the increasing procurement of sustainably-made apparel, a consumption practice that used to be foreign amongst local shoppers.

A study by Nielsen found that about 80% of Singaporeans are willing to pay premium prices for products that are sustainably produced, and made using environmentally friendly materials. Furthermore, the Climate Change Public Perception Survey 2019 revealed that four in five of those surveyed were prepared to play a role towards a low-carbon Singapore, even if it meant bearing some additional costs and inconvenience as consumers.

A Life survey by Uniqlo similarly reflected this sentiment having found that nine in 10 Singaporeans have taken at least some action to protect the environment. The survey also revealed that close to seven in 10 Singaporeans believed in pursuing a reduced environmental impact, such as buying only what they need to reduce waste, whilst about 85% would consider buying eco-friendly products if they are readily available.

Euromonitor said that future consumers will be focused on products as services, whether that be apparel rental, furniture rental or mobility-as-a-service, such as autonomous cars or ride-hailing super apps. The peer-to-peer based activity of the sharing economy has long been commoditised for lodging and transport services, but remains a far-fetched concept for the industry of fashion retail.

However, a Knight Frank report cited that conscious consumerism will be one of the top retail trends in 2020, noting that the growing trend will give rise to the popularity of clothing rental providers.

Singapore-grown fashion rental startup Style Theory, which launched operations in 2016, started its services grounded on the same principle that consumers had grown responsive to a sharing economy. “Since consumers are already accustomed to sharing rides and homes with strangers thanks to the rise of services like Grab and Airbnb, this got us thinking about giving people the opportunity to access an infinite wardrobe stored in the cloud in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner,” said Style Theory’s spokesperson.

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