Based in the US, Rent the Runway1 has been launched since 2009 to provide service that allows women to rent high-end clothes. From a startup for one-off cocktail dresses, it has already developed into a rental service provider for designer clothing for various occasions through subscription models: 1) 89 USD monthly for 4 new pieces per month and 2) 159 USD monthly for an endlessly rotating wardrobe. With the popularity of social media, everyone can get the most updated fashion information from Instagram, Facebook, WeChat and any other social media platforms as fast as celebrities. The procession of the latest fashion items thus become a possibility for more and more people. It is familiar that an expensive fashion item is just worn for some special occasions or even for taking photos to show off through personal social media. Besides, designer clothing is expensive for ordinary consumers and regarded poor long-term investment comparing to luxury brands. With the advantages of mobile shopping and delivery service, the market need for high-end designer clothing rental is expanding.
Instead of using specific recycling technology, this company has adopted a new business model to correspond to the newly emerging market trends as well as meet the needs of the circular economy. The rental service is changing the mindset of clothing consumption, especially among the millennials. Once clothing rental becomes a daily habit for a certain part of consumers, a circular economy can be gradually established as a new fashion mainstream, giving clothes a longer lifetime to close the loop while reducing material and resource consumptions. The new supply chain is illustrated as follows: