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Vince launches retail subscription service, Unfold

Vince AW18 Campaign
Vince Fall 18 Campaign

Vince is launching a clothing subscription service, titled “Unfold”, which will include priority delivery, returns, laundry costs and insurance for a flat monthly fee of $160. In doing so, the US-based brand will be the first contemporary fashion label to offer this type of subscription service.

“Vince Unfold is an innovative new subscription service that will tap our existing product assortment to drive incremental revenue while further advancing awareness of the Vince brand,” Brendan Hoffman, CEO of Vince, tells WWD. “We believe that subscription services will play a much greater role in consumer shopping patterns in the future.”

Every month, customers will be able to rent up to four pieces from the retailer. If the customer wishes to keep the piece they rent, they can purchase it at a discount of 20-60%, depending on the seasonality of the merchandise.

According to Hoffman, rental platforms are becoming increasingly relevant in the fashion industry. For example Rent the Runway, which pioneered the subscription model in fashion when it launched in 2009, has just announced its expansion into 15 WeWork office buildings across the US, where customers can drop off return items for the retailer. In another example of retailers embracing the sharing economy, earlier this year London-based department store Browns teamed up with luxury rental service Armarium to offer its customers high-end fashion for rental for two weeks in the summer.

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Browns partners with luxury rental service Armarium

Browns x Armarium
Browns x Armarium

London-based multi-brand store Browns has teamed up with luxury rental service Armarium, to offer its customers high-end fashions for loan for two weeks this summer.

Shoppers at the South Molton Street flagship, will have access to the US-based platform’s inventory, as well as some of Browns’ own stock that has been added especially, via a dedicated in-store pop-up space.

They will also be able to continue renting certain designer pieces from Browns online at Armarium after the pop-up has ended.

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns, said: “Great styles are truly seasonless however the
customer chooses to engage with them. Armarium’s bought/ borrowed approach speaks to the topic of sustainability, therefore as a retailer we can extend the lifecycle of our products giving the client access to great pieces regardless of time, closet or pocketbook limitations.”

The notion of this so-called “shared economy”, has been picking up steam in the fashion industry, thanks to big players such as Rent the Runway. It remains relatively novel at the true luxury end of the market however, especially with in-season stock.

Trisha Gregory, founder of Armarium, told us: “There is a shift in the fashion retail landscape and a new generation of spending with a shared economy mindset. With a quest to deliver an elevated level of service, Armarium both protects brand integrity and ignites new clientele allowing brands to reach both traditional clients and new consumers.”

Added Ida Petersson, womenswear buying director at Browns: “We are excited to explore life beyond mark downs for the beautiful product that our teams have bought season on season. Sustainability and inclusiveness are two subjects we feel very strongly about, and with Armarium we are making a first step towards extending the lifecycle of our stock as well as offering the Browns experience to a wider audience.”