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.
Style Theory - Fun, Fresh, FeminineShift dress, Foxiedox, available on Style Theory. PHOTO: Style Theory
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.Triangle bag, Balenciaga, available on Style Theory. PHOTO: Style Theory
Prices range from $69 to $179 a month.Denim jacket, Kowtow, available on Style Theory. PHOTO: Style Theory
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.Brocade pants, Elliatt, available on Style Theory. PHOTO: Style Theory
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.
The Treasure Collective - Luxury, Designer, Occasion
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.Ruffled open-back dress, Lanvin, available on The Treasure Collective. PHOTO: The Treasure Collective
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.
Closet Share - Trendy, Aspirational, SophisticatedButton-down dress, Sculptor, available on Closet Share. PHOTO: Closet Share
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.
Madthread - Workwear, Contemporary, WeekendSloane oversized earrings, Cult Gaia, available on Madthread. PHOTO: Madthread
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.Esperanza eyelet mini dress, Free People, available on Madthread. PHOTO: Madthread
Prices range from $39 to $199 a month.
Bowtie sweater, Anteprima, available on Madthread. PHOTO: Madthread
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.Dreamer pants, Sheike, available on Madthread. PHOTO: Madthread
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 Online.