November 30, 2023


Fashion takes it to the next level.

Singapore pair redress Southeast Asian vogue rentals

5 min read

When partner and spouse Chris Halim and Raena Lim observed an option to redress sustainability issues in the vogue market, they desired to do so in model.  

And the duo behind clothes rental application Model Principle absolutely will not do points by halves. 

“We did put in like $40,000,” the couple, who give up their work opportunities to choose their commence-up entire time, told CNBC Make It.

“Truthfully, we don’t know no matter if we are foolish or courageous.”

Finding the proper in shape

Lim and Halim are the co-founders of Design Concept, a Singaporean trend rental system that allows subscribers to loan unrestricted items for a flat regular cost.

The SoftBank-backed get started-up nowadays offers far more than 200,000 registered customers across Singapore and Indonesia and offers an inventory of 50,000 outfits and more than 2,000 bags. 

But when ex-Goldman Sachs banker Lim and expert spouse Halim bought the strategy for the enterprise back in 2016, it was in response to a quite prevalent conundrum — possessing nothing at all to put on.  

Raena Lim and Chris Halim, the spouse-and-wife duo at the rear of Singaporean apparel rental system Fashion Concept.

Model Principle

“The ‘aha’ instant came when Chris actually questioned me and he’s like ‘why is it you have so a lot of dresses and you happen to be often complaining that you have nothing to dress in?’,” recalled main functions officer Lim.

“For somebody who arrived from a finance qualifications, utilizing logic and arithmetic, it just abruptly felt like wow, that’s genuinely a quite illogical response that I have to fashion,” she stated.

Styling it out

We started with a waitlist initial, so we had ample quantity of outfits and ample potential.

Chris Halim

co-founder and CEO, Design Concept

That inefficiency has spawned a host of new outfits rental platforms trying to get to satisfy acutely aware people with a guilt-cost-free alternative to rapid style. 

Pioneered in 2009 by U.S. platform Rent The Runway, the circular trend business has bloomed above the earlier decade, inspiring other brand names this sort of as My Wardrobe HQ in the U.K. and GlamCorner in Australia. Yet, the logistical issues of Southeast Asia manufactured it a hard market place to crack. That led novice entrepreneurs Lim and Halim to adopt a take a look at-initial method.  

“We commenced with a waitlist 1st, so we had enough selection of garments and adequate capacity for customers,” mentioned main executive Halim. “As the prospects appear in, we are possibly established correct or established incorrect and then we continually iterate from there.”

Adopting a knowledge-driven approach

The couple’s details-driven tactic observed them swap from possessing all the inventory in-house to a consignment model in 2019. 

Underneath the new framework, Fashion Idea retains inventory on behalf of designers and people today, spending them every single time an item is rented. The business then takes a reduce of the $95 limitless every month subscription fee for the management, courier and cleaning of products. 

Fashion rental system Model Concept retains inventory on behalf of designers and men and women, having to pay them every single time an merchandise is rented.


That angle, in switch, has captivated traders, including SoftBank, Alpha JWC Ventures and Indonesian real estate business the Paradise Team, which have invested around $30 million in the corporation.

“The trouble that they are resolving is definitely for the consumers and, in this situation, a large amount of feminine users. But this also offers solutions (to) the suppliers or designers to be ready to get to this focus on market place in a extra immediate manner,” Jefrey Joe, controlling associate at Alpha JWC Ventures, told CNBC Make It.

A fashionable industry

This round manner current market is large more than enough to produce at least a unicorn from Southeast Asia.

Jefrey Joe

running partner, Alpha JWC Ventures

A lot of that development could be led by Asia-Pacific, wherever the reasonably nascent garments rental marketplace is ripe for disruptive gamers like Type Theory. According to market research company Research Nester, the location is forecast to account for almost a quarter (22.14%) of the over-all sector inside of 6 several years.

“The industry dimension of this section is continue to small … (but) we also see huge opportunity,” explained Joe. “This round vogue industry is big more than enough to make at least a unicorn from Southeast Asia,” he stated, referring to start out-ups with a valuation of $1 billion.

Pivoting in the pandemic

The duo aims to capitalize on that chance by tailoring their supplying to the unique wants of people in Asia. That contains curating outfits to go well with local cultures and climates, as well as presenting selection services and private styling in pop-up shops.

However, the outlook for the manner marketplace is not with out problem. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 struck a blow to suppliers, denting profits and shuttering outlets. In the meantime, with social engagements canceled and cleanliness taking a priority, outfits rental was strike tough. 

Model Principle launched its resale enterprise in 2020 in reaction to altering buyer behavior amid the pandemic.

Model Theory

“The pandemic is almost certainly the most demanding time for us as a firm,” mentioned Halim, whose business has until now only recovered 75% of pre-pandemic users.

“But it also brought a ton of prospects. The most interesting one particular for us was actually fashion resale,” he continued, citing a company that lets users to purchase and provide pre-used goods. “(We) formally launched the platform final calendar year, and had been in a position to grow that organization 10x in like 12 months.”

A timeless collection

Nonetheless, the founders are self-assured vogue rental is no trend. 

In its 5 a long time, they say Fashion Theory has facilitated much more than 2.3 million rentals and saved far more than 600,000 preloved designer merchandise from prematurely entering landfills. 

Mainly, the small business is a child for us.

Chris Halim

co-founder and CEO, Design Idea | Newsphere by AF themes.