How fashion rental services keep their apparel clean and hygienic
With little need for dressing up during the "circuit breaker" period, popular clothing rental companies such as Style Theory and Rentadella have had to implement additional measures.
In recent years, clothing rental services have been increasing in popularity because they offer customers access to a wide variety of clothes and accessories at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them.
They also provide subscribers with the flexibility of experimenting with different styles which they may not normally want to invest in. How do these services work?
Based on their subscription plan, customers get to pick the items of clothing they want, wear them and return them within the time frame allocated.
With most people staying home in the last few months, many of these companies have had to temporarily close their physical stores and transition to operating entirely online, subjecting their extensive collections of delicate clothes and accessories to the perils of storage.
How have they been protecting them from the adverse effects of our humid climate?
Ming Bridges, CEO and Founder of Rentadella, explained: “When the ‘circuit breaker’ was announced, we had to immediately stop all appointments and move to fully functioning online. We still did delivery but paid extra attention to make sure clothes were properly disinfected after every wear and also had a 'breathing period’ before we handled it after the customer rental.”
Everything is disinfected once worn or touched.
Style Theory also had to eventually close their store and move completely to contactless doorstep deliveries and collection while they continued to receive subscriptions for their services during the weeks of the “circuit breaker”.
To ensure that standards of hygiene were upheld, separate warehouses were allocated during this period to process returned apparel and to separate them from the new and clean clothes.
Raena Lim, co-founder of Style Theory, said: “Our clean apparel are further handled by staff who are appropriately trained to sanitise all boxes prior to packing the orders for subscribers.”
The facilities are kept at optimal conditions- temperature-regulated and humidity-controlled – to ensure all inventory is kept dry and away from moisture to prevent unnecessary mould or mildew from developing.
Additionally, the aisles and storage shelving in their designer bags warehouse are being regularly cleaned and maintained. Lim added: “The facilities are kept at optimal conditions- temperature-regulated and humidity-controlled – to ensure all inventory is kept dry and away from moisture to prevent unnecessary mould or mildew from developing.”
To protect Rentadella’s collection, Bridges had to move the majority of clothing into her own home. She explained:“We put a dehumidifier in each room the clothes were in to make sure there was no chance of mould building up and kept things open and airy as much as possible for good air circulation.”
Apart from the usual dry cleaning, the company also invested in disinfection products specifically for clothes, shoes and their showroom. “Everything is disinfected once worn or touched. We also invested in top quality dehumidifiers to keep our clothes in top condition,” said Bridges.
On top of the health and hygiene measures that Style Theory’s staff practise, such as daily temperature-taking, mask-wearing, and regular hand-sanitising, along with the introduction of contactless delivery to safeguard the health of their drivers and subscribers, Lim also stressed that the standard practices that the company already maintains have become even more important during this period.
Our apparel goes through a thorough seven-step process with our dry-cleaning partners to sterilise, clean and press our clothes, and our designer bags are cleaned after each and every rental.
“The boxes that are used to deliver the apparel and designer bags are cleaned after every use with anti-bacterial sprays and disinfectants. After which, all boxes will go through a thorough wipe down prior to packing, to achieve the best cleanliness,” said Lim.
“Our apparel goes through a thorough seven-step process with our dry-cleaning partners to sterilise, clean and press our clothes, and our designer bags are cleaned after each and every rental. We also seal all orders that exit our facility to maintain the cleanliness and condition the minute it leaves our warehouse and through the delivery partners.”
With the increasing anxiety over health and hygiene, it’s reassuring to hear that these rental companies are going the extra mile to ensure that their collections are well maintained. Moving forward, will these additional measures become part and parcel of their business practises?
“Yes. As we adjust to the new normal, hygiene standards will have to be at the highest possible, even in between customer try-ons,” said Bridges. “We pride ourselves in having the best quality rental clothes and are happy we are able to run our business knowing our customers are getting the safest treatment possible.”
Along with the measures Style Theory already have in place, contactless doorstep delivery will stay on as part of their service. “We will continue to do so as increased hygiene measures are just as relevant and important post-circuit breaker as well, and we will continue to uphold this as a responsibility we pride ourselves in,” said Lim.