“You’re wearing that again?” may be more of a compliment this holiday season than a dig, from Armarium’s viewpoint.
The luxury rental resource has launched “Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress” with the help of about 10 or 12 Hollywood stylists including Julia Von Boehm, Elizabeth Stewart, Mary Fellowes and Sophie Lopez. All of the stylists are creating their own holiday looks by self-styling the same Rodarte dress. After shooting selfies, they are posting them on Armarium’s Instagram as well as via their own handles. Armarium cofounder and chief executive officer Trisha Gregory said, “The dress has been traveling for the past month and we’ve given them full reign in terms of how they would wear it and style it. This also debunks the stigma of wearing the same dress. It’s cool to wear the same style and style it in your own way.”
She added, “We wanted to showcase how sustainability is on the rise in the fashion industry and how so many red-carpet stylists and others are getting behind sustainability as well. We also wanted to highlight how by putting their clients in borrowed dresses, they’re practicing sustainability as well.”
Rodarte is a new addition for Armarium. Instead of doing a content shoot or opening a pop-up for a new label, the company opted for the traveling dress, which loosely mirrors what Rodarte did with its spring 2020 online look book with celebrities and other high-profile friends of the brand wearing the label, Gregory said. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from rentals for the dress will be donated to Dress for Success. A four-day rental costs $450. This option allows consumers to get familiar with a brand, while protecting its full-priced retail sales, she added.
The company recently staged a pop-up shop in Miami for Art Basel. Another example of an off-line experience used to fuel online growth was the three-month pop-up at Le Bon Marché in Paris earlier this year. A 150 percent increase in online growth has been seen this year, Gregory said. The evolution of the product to less formal styles including “easier, fun dresses that can be rented online” has contributed to that growth. The traveling dress concept could potentially be used during fashion week with editors or tying into awards season and fashion calendar events. The effort also is meant to drum up interest in the sharing economy, upcycling and re-wearing clothing.
As for the challenges that are presented due to increased competition and greater consumer interest, Gregory said, “A lot of the challenge lies within consumer service and really protecting the brands through the experience with the customer [as well as educating them about a new trend or brand]…Different retailers or companies getting into rental now may see it as a way to turn inventory more so than focusing initially on the customer acquisition and that customer experience. It is high-touch luxury but it does scale in a much more meaningful way if done correctly both off-line and online.”