When spouse and wife Chris Halim and Raena Lim noticed an option to redress sustainability concerns in the fashion industry, they required to do so in type.  

And the duo driving clothing rental application Model Idea certainly you should not do matters by halves. 

“We did set in like $40,000,” the couple, who give up their work opportunities to take their start off-up entire time, informed CNBC Make It.

“Truthfully, we don’t know whether or not we are foolish or brave.”

Getting the proper suit

Lim and Halim are the co-founders of Model Concept, a Singaporean manner rental system that allows subscribers to mortgage unlimited merchandise for a flat regular monthly cost.

The SoftBank-backed begin-up currently features a lot more than 200,000 registered users throughout Singapore and Indonesia and offers an inventory of 50,000 clothing and extra than 2,000 baggage. 

But when ex-Goldman Sachs banker Lim and specialist partner Halim bought the thought for the firm again in 2016, it was in response to a really widespread conundrum — obtaining nothing to wear.  

Raena Lim and Chris Halim, the partner-and-spouse duo powering Singaporean clothing rental system Model Concept.

Design Idea

“The ‘aha’ minute came when Chris actually questioned me and he’s like ‘why is it you have so quite a few outfits and you might be normally complaining that you have almost nothing to have on?’,” recalled main functions officer Lim.

“For an individual who came from a finance qualifications, working with logic and arithmetic, it just abruptly felt like wow, that’s actually a incredibly illogical response that I have to fashion,” she reported.

Styling it out

We begun with a waitlist very first, so we had enough selection of outfits and ample potential.

Chris Halim

co-founder and CEO, Design and style Theory

That inefficiency has spawned a host of new clothing rental platforms trying to find to satisfy acutely aware consumers with a guilt-free alternative to fast vogue. 

Pioneered in 2009 by U.S. system Rent The Runway, the circular style sector has bloomed around the earlier 10 years, inspiring other models such as My Wardrobe HQ in the U.K. and GlamCorner in Australia. Yet, the logistical problems of Southeast Asia made it a tough market place to crack. That led novice business people Lim and Halim to adopt a exam-initially tactic.  

“We commenced with a waitlist initial, so we experienced adequate number of outfits and sufficient potential for buyers,” claimed chief government Halim. “As the prospects come in, we are both proven appropriate or established wrong and then we consistently iterate from there.”

Adopting a information-driven method

The couple’s knowledge-driven method observed them change from possessing all the stock in-property to a consignment product in 2019. 

Below the new framework, Design Concept retains stock on behalf of designers and persons, spending them every time an product is rented. The company then takes a minimize of the $95 unrestricted every month membership payment for the management, courier and cleaning of merchandise. 

Vogue rental platform Design Theory holds inventory on behalf of designers and people, shelling out them each individual time an product is rented.


That attitude, in turn, has captivated traders, including SoftBank, Alpha JWC Ventures and Indonesian actual estate firm the Paradise Team, which have invested all-around $30 million in the organization.

“The challenge that they’re solving is definitely for the people and, in this circumstance, a great deal of woman people. But this also presents solutions (to) the suppliers or designers to be in a position to access this concentrate on sector in a additional immediate way,” Jefrey Joe, taking care of husband or wife at Alpha JWC Ventures, explained to CNBC Make It.

A trendy industry

This round vogue sector is major sufficient to develop at least a unicorn from Southeast Asia.

Jefrey Joe

taking care of partner, Alpha JWC Ventures

Considerably of that growth could be led by Asia-Pacific, where by the comparatively nascent garments rental market is ripe for disruptive gamers like Design Principle. According to market place study business Study Nester, the location is forecast to account for pretty much a quarter (22.14%) of the over-all market place within 6 several years.

“The current market dimension of this segment is nonetheless very small … (but) we also see substantial likely,” said Joe. “This round trend market place is significant sufficient to make at least a unicorn from Southeast Asia,” he explained, referring to start out-ups with a valuation of $1 billion.

Pivoting in the pandemic

The duo aims to capitalize on that option by tailoring their giving to the distinct demands of shoppers in Asia. That includes curating clothes to fit neighborhood cultures and climates, as well as giving collection companies and personalized styling in pop-up retailers.

Nevertheless, the outlook for the style business is not with no obstacle. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 struck a blow to stores, denting gains and shuttering merchants. In the meantime, with social engagements canceled and hygiene taking a priority, clothes rental was strike hard. 

Type Concept launched its resale small business in 2020 in reaction to altering client practices amid the pandemic.

Model Theory

“The pandemic is almost certainly the most complicated time for us as a enterprise,” said Halim, whose organization has until finally now only recovered 75% of pre-pandemic people.

“But it also introduced a ton of options. The most exciting one particular for us was actually fashion resale,” he continued, citing a service that will allow consumers to obtain and provide pre-used products. “(We) formally released the platform last yr, and had been equipped to grow that business enterprise 10x in like 12 months.”

A timeless collection

Continue to, the founders are confident style rental is no trend. 

In its 5 several years, they say Fashion Idea has facilitated much more than 2.3 million rentals and saved much more than 600,000 preloved designer things from prematurely moving into landfills. 

Generally, the company is a infant for us.

Chris Halim

co-founder and CEO, Design Theory