Platforms like Rent the Runway, which was recently valued at $1 billion, have made fashion rental a popular and accepted way of consuming fashion. Still, there’s a lack of rental platforms for streetwear, one of the most buzzed-about fashion categories in the last decade.
On the resale front, there are no shortage of platforms catering to streetwear. Including StockX, Stadium Goods, GOAT and even Poshmark, there are plenty of places where customers can buy pre-owned streetwear. But rental, the other alternative ownership model, is much rarer in the space.
According to the founders of The Mercer Club, a rental service that launched Monday, the reason comes down to the fact that streetwear is primarily dominated by men’s fashion, and men’s is evolving slower than women’s fashion.
“Rent the Runway is huge,” said Chike Achebe, co-founder of The Mercer Club. “The only men’s rental platform that comes close to that is Black Tux, but they only rent one thing. Men’s has traditionally been less adventurous than women’s. Our grandfathers wore the same cardigans, the same khakis, things you don’t really need to rent. That’s changing now.”
As men’s fashion outpaces women’s in growth, it also is becoming more dynamic and is moving much faster. Ezidiegwu believes this is creating an opportunity. Customers now have more reason to cycle through a large amount of clothing, making renting more appealing.
Rent the Runway, the most successful rental business out there, has mostly steered clear of streetwear beyond launching a few streetwear-adjacent brands like Fila and MSGM. This is partially because the company has focused entirely on women since its inception and most streetwear designers ignore the women’s market.