So you’re a fan of some good ol’ retail therapy, but also an eco-warrior on the side? A growing market, subscription-based rentals offer that sweet spot: a constant new selection without actually committing to a purchase. We tried four popular online platforms that promise a fuss-free process and chic, clean clothes, to suss out what suits you best.
Having opened its first flagship boutique at 313@Somerset (#02-40/41) in October 2019, Style Theory says it is South-east Asia’s largest online subscription-based designer fashion rental service.
Taking the business offline was a way to help first-timers ease into the idea of rental, as one can see, touch, try and immediately rent clothes and designer bags.
New subscribers can also enjoy a complimentary 60-minute personal styling session (worth $250), where professionally trained image consultants provide recommendations based on body type and preference.
Prices range from $69 to $179 a month.
Pros: The mobile application is easy to navigate and visually appealing – filters allow you to search for a brand, colour, or style quickly. There is a wide selection of high street brands that are not easily available in Singapore, such as ethical and sustainable label Kowtow. The clothes felt fresh and clean upon arrival.
Cons: Although there is a large selection of apparel and bags, it leans toward a more feminine style, think floral dresses and lace details, so it might not suit everyone.
Imagine being able to don different tailored suits or pretty frocks from designer brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Hermes, and Stella McCartney every month. And besides offering subscription-based rentals for a slew of luxury labels, The Treasure Collective also offers ad-hoc rentals for occasion wear, winter wear and even ethnic wear such as cheongsams.
Prices range from $79 to $279 a month.
Pros: All the clothes are shot on a model, with detailed descriptions of how they fit (they even tell you the original size and if the dress has been altered), which really helps in picking out the items that might fit you. There’s also a sale section on the website that allows you to purchase new or pre-loved items at discounted prices. Items arrived in good, clean condition and don’t look too worn.
Cons: There are three tiers of membership and some of the items can only be rented by certain tiers, so unless you have signed up for the top tier, it might be frustrating as some items will not be available to you. The cost for the top tier (Club Fabuholics) is not small ($229 for the first month, $279 for subsequent months), and on top of that you have to pay an $8 insurance fee for every delivery order.
It’s one of the top fashion sharing platforms in Korea, and it’s aiming to achieve the same in Singapore. Unlike most other platforms that only facilitate rentals, Closet Share allows users to share items from their closet for others to rent. It has partnered with local fashion icons Nicole Wong and Nellie Lim who are now offering pieces from their closet for their followers to achieve their style.
Prices range from $69 to $159 a month
Pros: The website tells you how “used” the clothes are and includes a “buy now” option for some items. It’s affordable, with prices starting from just $48 for four items a month. There were interesting pieces and indie brands like El Estilo De Claire and Sculptor. The clothes arrived in moderate to good quality (no frayed ends or holes).
Cons: Not all clothing items are featured on the model, which makes it difficult to assess the cut. The guesswork resulted in sizing issues as pieces in the same size had vastly different fits. The selection of luxury bags is limited.
Do you find yourself wearing only 5 per cent of your bursting wardrobe? That sentiment was what led economics graduate Nicole Hu to establish Madthread, a rental service that promises next-day delivery and swop (return your current pieces and receive your new ones at once).
It also prides itself on stocking cult brands that are sourced from around the world such as American label Cult Gaia (known for its Instagram-famous Ark bag), and contemporary British womenswear label Self-Portrait.
*Madthread is currently taking an indefinite break.
Prices range from $39 to $199 a month.
Pros: The website provides details on fit, fabric stretchability, fabric thickness, lining, and sheerness so you have a good idea of what the piece looks and feels like. There is a healthy selection of Australian brands, and the assortment of clothes is similar to what you’d find on Revolve.com, only more workwear-centric.
Cons: The sizing is limited, with only a handful of pieces available in L and XL (UK12-14). There is also a larger proportion of dresses than separates. Perhaps due to the heavy dry-cleaning process, some clothes may not look their newest.
This article was first published in Her World’s June issue.