Moss Bros CEO Brian Brick say he’s aiming to create the “Netflix of fashion” with the menswear retailer’s new £65-a-month subscription service.
The “Moss Box” service, first announced last month, enables customers to select two items from casual to formalwear with unlimited swaps from a selection of more than 180 items.
Products in the Moss Box mix include chinos, jeans, shorts, jumpers, roll-necks, waistcoats, tailoring and other wardrobe essentials from brands including French Connection, Barberis and Ted Baker.
If the customer finds what Moss Bros calls “a keeper” there is the option to buy for up to 50% off the retail price.
Brick explained: “I had the idea about four years ago because I felt we were seeing Generation Rent – Airbnb, Zipcar, Rent The Runway.
“I felt there was a generation coming through that didn’t want to gather and collect things.
“I thought if people didn’t own their wardrobe but revolve it, would that be something they wanted?”
“I think this whole fast fashion is going to be beaten back by sustainability.”
He added that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a shift in trends towards sustainable fashion and a move away from the fast-fashion culture of the past, as shops were shut.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Brick said: “I think the biggest change is going to be from fast fashion to slow fashion. I think this whole fast fashion is going to be beaten back by sustainability.
“When people started talking about sustainability in some cases, I think it was a little bit of marketing speak, but I think it’s real now.”
The Moss Box service is thought to be the first of its kind for men in the UK, but Brick added he would expect to see department stores such as John Lewis, Selfridges and Harrods follow suit.
He said: “I think it’s absolutely ideal for department stores to do subscriptions. I think you’d be amazed that over the next sort of 18 to 24 months, how many people will do it and it’ll catch on.”
The new service from Moss Bros has been launched in partnership with CaaStle, a leading rental technology platform in the US. Premium womenswear retailer LK Bennett will also launch a rental service with CaaStle later in the summer.
The move by Moss Bros moves the company away from its traditional heritage of formalwear and into the casual market, with the retailer expecting to see a new dress-down culture in offices.
Brick said: “I think there will still be an element of people who go in and wear a jacket or a suit (but) I think there will be less people wearing suits for business.”
According to GlobalData, the UK rental market value is expected to reach £2.3 billion by 2029 and a number of start-ups have launched in the space offering various models such as peer-to-peer and brand-to-peer via their platforms, such as Mywardrobe HQ, Hirestreet, Hurr Collective and Endless Wardrobe. However the next big wave appears to be from brands offering their own rental services on a platform they control
Recently the founder of peer-to-peer rental service Hirestreet, launched a white label platform of its technology and logistics platform to offer brands large and small a fast route into the rental space. The Zoa platform is the brainchild of entrepreneur Isabella West, who told TheIndustry.fashion last month that she expected the service to boom as retailers looked to ways to utilise stock amassed during the lockdowns.
“We were starting to see retailers dark-rooming stock and we were hearing all of those conversations about rethinking the seasons,” she tells TheIndustry.fashion. “And one thing we kept hearing is that they were interested in doing more rental but they wanted to do it under their own brand; they wanted to own the customer.”
Onloan is another start-up offering brands a route to market for rental. The platform focuses on contemporary womenswear and has just signed a partnership with premium, sustainable label Mother of Pearl to launch its first rental service The Full Circle.
A key part of the initiative is “Try Before You Buy” enabling shoppers to road-test items before committing to purchase. If a customer wishes to keep an item having rented it, they can purchase it with the rental fee deducted.
“This is super cool because it means we’re switching impulse purchase behaviour to something that is more considered and slower,” said Onloan creative director Natalie Hasseck.