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Why brands are finding success in men’s clothing rental

By Robyn Turk

14 Apr 2021

Fashion |Interview

Hidden Identities, 2019

Clothing rental services are reaching new demographics and regions. Now, more than ever, consumers are looking for practicality, convenience and affordability. And rental services make all three possible.

Rental technology platform CaaStle has expanded its services to the UK for the first time, partnering with L.K. Bennet for an unlimited womenswear rental service, as well as Moss Bros. The menswear retailer is launching Moss Box, a first-of-its-kind subscription service for men’s rentals in the UK.

Yet Moss Bros. is not the first menswear label to venture into the realm of rentals. CaaStle has already powered the men’s rental services of both Scotch & Soda and Express - respectively called Scotch Select and Express Men’s Style Trial. For less than 100 dollars per month, these services each allow men to rent three garments at a time with an unlimited amount of swaps. And the brands are learning that this is a successful way to expand their consumer bases and engage with male shoppers.

“The male consumer is really well-suited towards innovative models, plus brands are starting to realize that this generation of male consumers is actually a lot more fashion-engaged [than previous generations],” Christine Hunsicker, CaaStle’s founder and CEO, told FashionUnited. “This is really what makes rental such a powerful tool for the brands to have, because they can get a lot of their merchandise into men’s hands.”

Data has shown that men are signing up to rental services at a “healthy rate,” receiving an average of eight items per month. Hunsicker reported that most of these consumers end up very satisfied with the styles they rent and ultimately purchase several items to keep.

CaaStle’s platform enables retailers and fashion brands to provide a subscription-based unlimited rental model with an option to buy. This service typically leads to stronger customer engagement compared to traditional retail alone.

Hunsicker explained that retailers are finding success in menswear rental offerings because male consumers tend to adopt innovative retail models more rapidly than women. Men between the ages of 25 and 45 tend to be the most common renters, as this generation is interested in technology and engaged with fashion. Plus, clothing rentals allow consumers to broaden their style choices.

“There’s a great value in rental,” Hunsicker said, explaining that for a flat fee of 99 dollars, Scotch Select users rent an average of eight items per month, which would have a combined retail value of 1500 dollars.

She continued, “Consumers are able to get so much more product and that is helping men to be more experimental with their choices. And that’s what we’re seeing. This is a major benefit - the ability to experiment with clothing in ways that might have been intimidating before. Now he’s able to experiment and experience so much more of the breadth of what Express or what Scotch and Soda have to offer.”

Rental services serve retailers as much as consumers

“Given the model, and given the way that we run the service, [rentals] are really good, profitable businesses for brands to launch,” Hunsicker said. And the benefits don’t end with profitability.

Launching a rental service allows retailers to reach a new consumer, typically one who is younger than the brand’s existing consumer base. This is a consumer who is interested in the brand’s offering, yet aiming to spend less money than the retail price range, and rental makes this possible.

Additionally, rental services appeal to consumers who only infrequently shop from a brand or perhaps only shop sale items. “Bringing up a rental service will allow you to get more of that consumer’s dollars flowing to you,” Hunsicker explained.

Rental services allow brands to develop more frequent engagement with consumers, over a longer period of time through reaching younger demographics and consumers who may have been on the fence about a purchase.

“It’s really about that marriage of value­ plus variety,” said Hunsicker.