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Ralph Lauren Wades Into the Sharing Economy With Rental Debut

Ralph Lauren believes shoppers are vying for The Lauren Look, and the American heritage brand is delivering with a new apparel subscription service.

After teasing a rental play in 2019, the Lauren Ralph Lauren brand announced the program’s launch Tuesday, offering shoppers the opportunity to rent a broad and size-inclusive selection of the label’s womenswear staples, from dresses to jumpsuits, jackets, tops, sweaters and pants.

“Consumers today are taking a different approach to experiencing brands and building their wardrobes,” CEO Patrice Louvet said in a statement on the platform powered by CaaStle, which helps fashion labels establish a monobrand subscription business. “The closet of the future will include a mix of new seasonal fashion, unique customized pieces and wardrobe staples, alongside pre-owned and rented clothing.” Louvet believes that Ralph Lauren is poised to “play across each of these categories” because of the brand’s “timeless aesthetic.”

New products will arrive on weekly, the company said, and members are invited to curate their own virtual closets on the site. The brand recommends that renters populate their wish-lists with dozens of desired items, and for $125 per month, they will receive four available items at a time to wear for as long as they like. Once they’ve had their fill, they can send those pieces back to trigger the next shipment of items—and they can repeat this process as many times as they wish each month. Should they fall in love with particular pieces, they can purchase them at a discounted rate, not unlike the business model popularized by Rent the Runway, which discontinued unlimited rentals last year amid widespread logistics challenges.

Ralph Lauren stylists have curated trend edits, like “Work from Home,” “Weekend Wear” and “Date Night at Home,” giving renters outfit inspiration tailored to their current, Covid-altered lifestyles.

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Ralph Lauren has launched its own subscription service, The Lauren Look, allowing fans of the fashion brand to rent new apparel each month.

The launch of The Lauren Look will provide the brand with an opportunity to take advantage of highly informative consumer data that will inform the direction of future product lines and business models. David Lauren, chief innovation and branding officer, said that the program allows Ralph Lauren to “explore an entirely new model tapping into the growing focus on the sharing economy and revolutionizing how we look at fashion consumption.”

“Launching with Lauren, our most widely distributed and accessible brand, is a testament to the growth we see in this space and will help us further anticipate the evolving needs and makeup of our consumers’ future closet,” he added.

Facilitating rentals has also become a part of many brands’ pushes for increased product circularity, as it reduces clothing waste by extending garments’ lifespans. Once The Lauren Look’s garments have reached their “rental cap,” the company said, they will be donated to non-profit organization Delivering Good, which provides new and gently-worn products to at-risk children, families and individuals.

Though Ralph Lauren couldn’t be reached for comment, the rental debut seems to capitalize on the company’s 2019 decision to digitize its millions of products in partnership with IoT innovator, Evrythng.

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.