Rent. Return. Repeat. Sounds familiar?
This is the punchline of the “Netflix-model-fashion-app”, Style Theory, that has taken Southeast Asia by storm since its launch in 2016.
What started as a solution to change the way people consume fashion turned into a flourishing online business housing over 50,000 designer apparels and 2,000 designer bags available for rental, and today, a physical flagship store.
Located at the heart of town, this 1,500 square foot space acts as a physical collection and return point. This allows customers to choose their next selection upon returning the previous rental, increasing the processing rate of goods.
Beyond that, this space will also act as a vital tool to facilitate the interaction between the team and their offline customers, who will be able to visit the flagship store and physically browse through the collections housed by Style Theory.
With a large number of customers expected to filter in and out of the store, the flagship store will also act as a community space where subscribers can gather and interact with the team.
“We are where we are because of our loyal customers who have been with us since the start, we want to create a space where we can innovate on our current products and work with these customers through this journey to figure out how should the future of fashion look like for all of us here, including our subscribers,” says Raena Lim, the co-founder of Style Theory.
Additionally, this space will also offer 3 to 4 community events for their subscribers to take part in every month, fostering a sense of empowerment and community.
The Three Zones; Rent, Wear, Swap
Upon stepping foot into the store, shoppers will be greeted by an immersive life-sized art installation – The Infinite Wardrobe – a 3-metre tall art installation created solely from Style Theory’s clothing pieces.
Apart from the stunning artwork, shoppers will also be able to see three distinct zones; Rent, Wear, Swap.
With 300 pieces of apparels, 60 designer bags, and clothing pieces categorized according to various occasions, on display in the Rent zone, this is where shoppers can pick out items for rental.
In addition, there are also 2 exclusive rooms in the Rent zone specially catered for styling sessions. Here, new subscribers can take advantage of the complimentary 60-minute styling sessions with professionally-trained image consultants.
The Rent zone aids the brand in providing a deeper understanding of their customers and their day-to-day lives to help curate different styles for them that further compliments their lifestyle.
The second zone is the Wear zone, which houses 4 fitting rooms for customers to try on the pieces they have picked out.
Specially catered for all-selfie lovers, each fitting room features a mirror with a unique quote on them to compliment your pictures.
Lastly, the Swap zone is where subscribers can drop off or collect rental pieces while simultaneously picking out new items to rent out.
This helps to reduce the processing time from when a subscriber returns an item, and from when a subscriber can rent out new items, making the collection and returning process more convenient and efficient.
The Story Behind The Flagship Store
In recent years, sustainability and environmentalism are concepts that have been highly talked about and adopted by many. Consumers today have started to be more conscious of their purchasing decisions and shifting it to contribute towards a greener cause.
However, certain concepts such as, sustainable fashion, are still relatively new and with Singapore being a conservative society, sustainable fashion is still something that many have trouble understanding and has not been widely accepted as compared to other greener causes.
“This is a behaviour (fast-fashion consumption) that has been going on for decades, and how can you change that?” Asks Raena.
This is one of the main reasons behind the opening of a physical flagship store.
“There are a few reasons as to why we decided to go offline, one of the reasons being is because sustainable fashion is such a new concept, when we are online, there are people who don’t understand the message we are trying convey to them,” she continues, “I think once we open this door, we can hopefully touch this group of people, who will then be able to come down to the physical store, to talk to someone, to understand this entire movement.”
Apart from bridging consumers who are still new to this movement, the Style Theory flagship store will also serve as a platform to help the team understand its consumers on a more in-depth level through data.
“We are hoping to be able to collect more data to better understand how consumers shop today,” Raena explains.
Despite the advancement of online technology, certain data cannot be collected such as the reason behind the behavioural patterns of a consumer and the thought processes one goes through when choosing outfits to wear.
“I think offline, we can touch on things like what makes women insecure, what are the kind of things that go through the irrational mind to think ‘What am I going to wear today?’. These are the things that we are trying to capture through an offline space that we won’t be able to capture on an online space.”
Raena attributes the success Style Theory has seen to the massive support they have received from their subscribers over the past few years. Hence, she dedicates the last reason for them.
“We work very closely with them (subscribers) which is why this space means so much because we are able to use this space to innovate and create more ideas together. Hearing their (subscribers) opinions on what customers want and building ideas to cater to everyone and because these ideas came from customers, many of the ideas and products resonated well with other women in the community and we grew virally from there,” explains Raena.
The Future Of Style Theory
With the launch of the Style Theory flagship store, it is the first step towards bringing the brand to greater heights.
“I think this retail store is the first big step in the right direction in showing how serious we are in the game. It is a big investment and we will be conducting more experiments in this space that has never been done anywhere else.”
With the raging success Style Theory has seen so far, it serves as a motivation for the team to continue striving to bring a whole new ball game to the table for their subscribers.
“I think from here to where we want to be, it’s still a long way and I think for us as a company, what we can do is continuously make our services more convenient and smarter so that our customers can have a better way for them to use fashion, whether they support sustainability or not.”
In regards to future plans, Raena teases that they have an exciting lineup of features and plans that their subscribers can look forward to.
“We have a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few months that I really want to share, but as of right now, all I can say is stay tuned,” she says.
The Style Theory flagship store is located at 313@Somerset, #02-40/41.