Saks has a new weapon in the high-end clothing store war

How many times has this designer dress been worn? For many fashionistas, that is no longer the issue – a designer dress these days can go from manufacture to rental hundreds of times to finally be sold to its ultimate owner.

It might seem like an unusual business model, but in today’s economy, some style enthusiasts want to get the most out of every piece. While only 7% of the average American’s wardrobe was made up of second-hand clothes in 2019, that number is expected to rise to 17% by 2029.

The growing demand for second-hand and consignment pieces has pushed brands that traditionally wouldn’t want to be near second-hand clothing to make it a central part of their brand.

Rent the track (LEASE) an online platform that started out renting designer dresses but later expanded into everything from blouses to workout leggings, is the biggest platform in the space since it launched in 2009.

Who is Rent The Runway partnering with this time?

Over the years, Rent the Runway has partnered with everyone from W Hotels to British department store Selfridges and when it went public in 2021 it was worth an estimated $1.7 billion.

The latest department store to partner with Rent the Runway is Saks Off Fifth. While the two department stores are owned by Canadian giant Hudson Bay (HBAYF) the Saks Fifth Avenue offshoot sells excess inventory from the main store at discounted prices.

As part of the new partnership, select Saks Off Fifth stores will have sections featuring Rent the Runway clothing – these are the pieces that, after being rented through the platform, can now be purchased for around 85% off.

The company works with over 85 designer brands such as Ulla Johnson, Phillip Lim and Giambattista Valli.

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Although the companies did not immediately respond to questions from TheStreet about how many times a given piece will be worn before it is transferred to Saks Off Fifth, the department store said a survey of its customers revealed that 70% had bought second-hand clothes.

Another 80% of those customers said they wanted to see more second-hand clothes in stores.

“Through this unique relationship with Rent the Runway, we’re introducing new brands, delivering great deals, and bringing second-hand apparel from a trusted partner that resonates with our customers,” said Paige Thomas, CEO of Saks Off Fifth, in a statement.

Is consignment the future? Or will there be a turnaround?

There has been debate about the future, as well as the continued profitability, of the second-hand clothing industry – as startups and established brands diversify into this space, some analysts say the market risks going down. to be oversaturated at a time when many want new and better looking clothes after two years of staying there due to pandemic restrictions.

But while sales of new clothes are also on the rise, a recent study by online marketplace Mercari found that the number of second-hand clothes purchased from October to December 2021 increased by 24% year-on-year. former.

In addition, many young people are particularly likely to do this kind of shopping. Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2018, buy 250% more second-hand clothes than other generations.

The reasons relate to everything from rising inflation to growing consumer awareness of the impact of fast fashion.

“Whether it’s rentals or resale purchases, the second-hand economy is a critical part of creating a more sustainable future for our industry,” said Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Hyman, in a statement.