Why Rental Could Be The Future Of Fashion

Armarium is a company that delivers on-demand clothing for women at the tap of a button

Having made its debut earlier this year as an invite-only platform for fashion insiders, Armarium is an on-demand app that grants women access to a lavish wardrobe of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories. Having launched out of beta at the start of the month, anyone can get their hands on extravagant articles without the commitment of a high price tag. The concept goes as follows: users are given access to a curated collection of clothing from names such as Alberta Ferretti, Etro, Jimmy Choo, Nina Ricci, Anthony Vaccarello, Peter Pilotto, Sonia Rykiel and Roberto Cavalli (among many more), and agree to take out the piece for a specified duration of time of up to four days.

The idea here is to 'own the spotlight without owning the dress,' as co-founders Trisha Gregory and Alexandra Lind Rose put it. Since both women are veterans in the industry, tapping into their respective networks has aided the company in establishing a growing number of partnerships, including the aforementioned brands.

"For years, we've talked about how hard it is to find statement pieces from the runways to wear to events during the day and night or even to dinner with friends" says Rose. "That's when we started thinking about how we could solve this issue, and the idea for Armarium was born" adds Gregory.

Armarium updates its avant-garde catalogue on a seasonal basis much like a traditional retail store, offering something for everyone whether they're attending a black tie event or hitting the streets with a chic and urban daywear. The business model follows the current trend of ephemeral purchasing, wherein consumers give up ownership to loan out items for only as long as necessary, which keeps things fresh and exciting for both parties involved.

After downloading the app and signing up for 'keys' to their very own Armarium, looks become available to browse and request directly in-app; temporary tailoring is offered as well. Alternatively, clients can opt to hire the company's 'Style Brigade,' a team of leading freelance fashion and celebrity stylists for tips and guidance via chat, in showroom or even in their private residencies in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the like. Before confirming, a roster of 'House Stylists' are always on-call to answer last-minute inquiries regarding fit and style. Finally, once the allotted trial time has expired, users send back the items with no fuss. Armarium takes care of dry cleaning.

The website serves as an online destination for style inspiration and lifestyle content, complete with interviews with prominent designers, photoshoots styled by Armarium's Style Brigade featuring interesting influencers and models, and the Armi 400, a squadron of influential leaders in the business, arts and entertainment industries.

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"To date, we are showing an average repeat customer trend of 28% with the average rental consisting of 1.25 items at around $300. We know our customer is pleased with the level of luxury product assortment that we offer and in addition, she's consistently reliant on our stylists to further her look and help ease any fit concerns," says Gregory.

Had you asked us ten years ago whether anyone would be willing to rent out a prom dress or perhaps a wedding gown, we probably would have scoffed at the thought. But Gregory and Rose have undeniably confirmed the idea's worth through flawless timing and execution. If hotels are beginning to lose out to the Airbnb's of the world, and cars are vanishing with the prospect of automated Lyfts and Ubers, it only makes sense that the wardrobe should follow suit. Born from a humble idea that every woman deserves to look good during the milestone moments and fancy events in her life, Armarium delivers value in the form of transient elegance, offering a beneficial long-term relationship for anyone who doesn't want to wear the same dress twice or doesn't have the room to store it in the first place. Hopefully, the company will extend the same offer to men looking to dress as sharply as the women in 3their lives - I need a new tie.