The trend towards circular fashion and secondhand retail continues to rise with the recent launch of AirRobe, a luxury peer-to-peer reselling platform.
According to founder Hannon Comazzetto, the site aims to increase the lifespan of luxury clothing by helping consumers and sellers connect online, as well as offering secondhand physical retailers the opportunity to operate their own digital shop-in-shops on its platform. AirRobe offers rental, although it’s not a focus of the business right now. Currently, AirRobe has 20,000 customers with 200-300 brands.
“We want to help any fashion brand to provide their customers with a buy-back solution where they can resell or upcycle items. In the longer-term, we want to help recycle these quality textiles back into clothing production,” Comazzetto said.
While there have been quite a few players in the peer-to-peer secondhand market, there are not many solutions to help businesses enter the space. It’s an area that Comazzetto plans to focus on, as she would like to offer “a layer of professionalism to the supply side to help create a better customer experience for the buyers”.
Earlier this year, AirRobe received $75,000 investment from Startmate and Blackbird. Comazzetto said she hopes to put the funds towards relaunching the site, hiring new talent and potentially moving into the US market. She also plans to raise more investment in the future for the business.
“In Australia, we don’t see fashion tech as being a popular area to invest in and where innovation will happen next, but I think there’s the argument that the fashion industry is changing, it’s being disrupted and these are systemic changes happening across the supply chain. I think it’s going to be a very exciting area for change over the next few years.”
The Business of Fashion and McKinsey State of Fashion 2019 report indicated that rental and secondhand is one of the top trends in the fashion industry right now.
According to the report, “The number of brands getting into the rental, resale and refurbishment business will increase markedly; established players will progressively regard alternative ownership as a force they need to embrace or at least test through new collaboration models with retailers or startups in the sector.”
The report also added that a growing number of consumers’ wardrobes will be made up of pre-owned and rented products, especially for high-value items and accessories like luxury goods.