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Launching this April, new clothing rental service It’s Re:Leased hopes to change the Swedish consumer’s shopping pattern by offering a curated assortment of leasable Scandi fashion. We talk to founding duo Johanna Norrman and Annie Thorell.

The concept of renting clothes is pretty brilliant, especially if you’re one who enjoys trends and wants a wardrobe in constant rotation; and in the time of “the influencer”, so many do. When done right, it’s a much more responsible and eco-conscious alternative to buying new (especially fast fashion), as the garment’s life cycle and use frequency is meant to be extended, and hence it’s environmental impact reduced.
The challenge, we imagine, is to offer an attractive enough assortment at a low enough cost available in a way that is easy and accessible. Then, of course, there’s the issue of transportation, washing and dry cleaning, which can all be rather problematic from an environmental point of view; some thing to consider. 

It’s Re:Leased is the latest addition to the rental biz, created by a Swedish duo with backgrounds in fashion and tech. Johanna Norrman, having spent the past 15 years in fashion and retail, most recently worked within the H&M Group to launch ARKET, while Annie Thorell, coming out of 10 years in the tech industry, left a position at tech company Iteam to team up with her new business partner.
Still in a beta stage, It’s Re:Leased will be launching their weekly rental service with selected fashion pieces in April, 2019, followed by monthly subscriptions in September. Wanting to be “the extra” in your wardrobe, they’ll be offering seasonal trend items and one-of-a-kind garments that you would probably wear just a few times. Motto being: Own your staples – rent the rest. We like that idea.

Why did you decide to team up in this project?

Johanna: I’ve felt a real unease for the past few years over the sustainability issues within my industry. I feel it’s moving too slowly, and that a real shift in how we consume clothes is what’s necessary. I quit my job in the end of 2017 to pursue It’s Re:Leased, and knew from the start I wanted a tech co-founder onboard. A dear friend introduced me to Annie last spring, and it turned out we were just meant to do this together.

What is the idea and concept behind It’s Re:Leased, and how will it work?

Both: We want to give your wardrobe more value and variation by letting you rent the parts that you’d only wear a few times. With It’s Re:Leased you can do this in two ways: by renting garments for a week – for example if you’re going to a wedding or are celebrating your birthday – or by subscribing to four garments each month. Right now, you do this via email, but come spring this year you will be able to book your garments through our website and we will deliver them to you. We then take care of the returns, washing and repairs if necessary.

How is it different from (and better than) other clothing rental services?

Both: Existing services are doing a really good job, and we love the fact that this shift is happening. We’re changing how we consume fashion, which is really exciting to be a part of!

Our joined experience in tech and fashion is really rare. We’re building our own platform, optimized to fit the customer and her needs. Later this year, when you create an account with us, we’ll give you the possibility of having your personal measurements matched to the correct size from each brand, for example. And we’ll be able to get to know you over time and match our assortment according to your preferences.

We think our focus on Scandi fashion, combined with curated vintage, offers a really interesting and relevant assortment for the customer, but at the end of the day she will be the one to decide if our service is the better one.

“We want to give your wardrobe more value and variation by letting you rent the parts that you’d only wear a few times.”

What brands and types of fashion will you offer?

Johanna: We’re so happy to have Filippa K, HOPE, Stine Goya and Day Birger et Mikkelsen onboard from the start in April. There are more brands coming, but we will definitely keep our focus on Scandi fashion. There are so many brilliant brands within this range, and I love how we can combine different styles under that umbrella.

Our philosophy is to “own your staples – rent the rest”, so we curate the assortment accordingly with colors you might otherwise grow tired of quickly, this season’s it-prints that elevate your look, and so on.

For the weekly rentals, we won’t shy away from pieces that are “extra”, and meant to be worn to those once-in-a-lifetime events. But for the monthly subscription we try to make sure that our customer feels empowered, inspired and above all: happy when getting dressed.

What about the pricing? We imagine this must be one of the most difficult parts to get right, especially when competing against fast fashion.

Johanna: It’s really important to us that as many people as possible have the possibility to try this, but yes – it’s unfortunately really tough competing with the high street prices. As a buyer, I always start off by asking “what would the customer be willing to pay?”, and I think we’ve found a good balance with this in mind. Our weekly rentals are priced from 300-1,500 SEK, which actually does match the fast fashion industry price range to a large degree.

I think there is a disconnect between what people think they spend on clothes and what they actually spend. The average consumer spends almost 1,000 SEK per month on clothes in Sweden, but I’m not sure everyone feels that they get value for their money. Our monthly subscription will offer 4 pieces each month at 1,000 SEK, at a store value ranging from 3,000 – 7,000 SEK. I’m hoping it will make the consumer feel like they get more value and variation in their wardrobe,without exhausting their own or the planet’s resources.

We can all use a reminder: why is it better to rent than buy new?

Both: We can’t afford to continue wasting Earth’s resources by producing in the pace that our current consumption demands. And so many different studies are showing that we’re not using our clothes to their full capacity either; in Sweden alone we buy 15 kilos of clothes per person and year on average, and throw away about 8.  

Shipping, however, might not be as eco-friendly. What are your thoughts on this?

Both: Within the Stockholm region, there are some eco-friendlier alternatives, such as Move By Bike. We are still investigating different partners for shipping throughout Sweden.

Finally: When will we be able to try this out? Can’t wait!

Both: As for right now, during our test phase, you can choose from a selection of vintage and second hand. We’ll be launching our updated assortment with brands like Filippa K, HOPE, Stine Goya and Day Birger et Mikkelsen in April 2019, and we can’t wait either!

 

Visit It’s Re:Leased here and follow here.

Johanna Norrman and Annie Annie Thorell, founders of It's Re:Leased.

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