The concept of ‘fast fashion’ is no longer a new trend — in fact, it’s been around so long now we are starting to see some of the retail brands (i.e Forever 21) that pioneered the trend begin to crumble. The main thing that fast fashion brands did really well was that they were able to take the latest design or trend from the catwalk and translate that immediately into their stores through a very quick design and manufacturing process. The product quality may be lower, but what’s important to consumers is that whatever coat, shoes, bag ends up on the shelves — it looks like the ‘It’ coat/shoes/bags of the latest season. Zara, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, grew out of the ability to do fast fashion — and do it right — really well.
But here’s the problem with fast fashion: it isn’t sustainable.
Due to the oversupply in inventory, fashion companies are burning (yes, literally setting on fire) millions worth of product just to preserve brand value — Nike, Adidas, and H&M all engage in this. The inventory burn (again, we mean that literally) has gotten so out of hand that countries like France and the UK have started issuing fines in amounts that are over $100M in order to prevent brands for doing this. Even beyond the issue of brand value, fast fashion isn’t sustainable in the environmental sense — and consumers are reacting to that as well. More consumers are turning to brands that are environmentally conscious in their materials and ethical in their production line and supply chain.
So, we are sitting at an interesting time in the retail fashion business right now. As brands continue to produce more product at lower quality and cost, consumers are turning to sustainability and variety. 78% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences instead of items. In other words, they are buying (and owning!) less and experiencing more.
Here is where Seasons comes in: Seasons is a rental subscription service for streetwear. The rise of fast fashion has primed the rental market, especially as trends are changing quicker, and style is becoming more about self-expression and individuality. Even so, we are only at the infancy stage of the online rental market. The idea of online clothing subscription rental services has largely been introduced vis a vis Rent the Runway, but the idea of sharing clothes isn’t mainstream — yet.
So we are excited that Seasons is focusing on streetwear: an important and growing segment, but one that has yet to break out in a subscription model.
What makes Seasons unique are three main ingredients: one, that it focuses on streetwear — a style that is very much gender agnostic and focused instead more on self-expression, especially by younger millennials and later generation consumers. The second part is that building the infrastructure to ship, receive, clean and distribute apparel is a massive undertaking, and we believe Seasons has the right approach to its supply chain management. Third, building this type of company in New York is uniquely strategic. New York is the heart of where fashion and art convene, and its diverse residents makes it the perfect homebase for Seasons.
And as always … the most important component is the team. The two founders, Regy Perlera and Luc Succès, are a super talented product and engineering combo. We met them in 2015 and knew we wanted to work with them one day. We kept in touch and followed their careers as they built and shipped great products at Nike, StockX, and Spotify, among others. When Regy told us about Seasons this summer, and their product and technical strategy to power the platform, we knew we wanted to help build this company from day zero.
We are so incredibly excited to see Seasons launched in New York City this month (sign up for the waiting list here!), and can’t wait to introduce a little more variety into our wardrobes — in a sustainable way :)