Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cash-Strapped Europe's Latest Craze: Rented Clothes

English: Mannequins wearing jeans in Sânnicola...
Renting and leasing of consumer products with the intention of testing them out or keeping them after a specific period is nothing new, and has been the basis for viable business models in the US, and around the world, with companies such as Rent-A-Center and Aaron's for decades. However, renting and leasing clothes is something that only a materially cash strapped people would engage in.

Such as those of Europe, where the depression has been going on for five years and has manifsted itself in record unemployment month after month, and youth unemployment that in many cases is well over the 50% mark. In this context one has no choice but to live thrifty, even if that means renting, and leasing, second-hand clothing.

Meet Anouk Gillis who is just such a person. As the WSJ reports, Anouk Gillis often sports a pair of organic-cotton jeans she ordered online. But she doesn't actually own them. Rather than buying the pants, which retail for around €100 ($135), Ms. Gillis signed a 12-month lease with their designer, the small Dutch fashion label Mud Jeans.

The terms: a €20 deposit and monthly installments of €5. After a year, Ms. Gillis, who is also Dutch, can decide to buy the jeans, return them, or exchange them for a new pair. Ms. Gillis, a 40-year-old receptionist who lives in the small Dutch city of Tilburg, regularly buys secondhand clothes and shoes on the Internet and grows vegetables in a shared garden.

For her next trip to Rome, she booked a room on the website Airbnb Inc., an online matchmaker for budget travelers and people with a spare room or other lodging for rent. Read more >>

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