Style theoryThe co-founder of Raena Lim has the answer to a recurring conundrum that fashionistas around the world face: having "nothing to wear" despite an overflowing wardrobe.
It's a problem she and her friends have to deal with, she says - something that is the result of poor drinking habits. With the aim of reducing this, style theory was born. But that's not all: “With smaller houses and smaller spaces, storage space must be reserved for the clothes and bags that you use and really love, ”she says.
The Singapore-based luxury handbag subscription service, launched in 2016, opened in Hong Kong this year. With over 2,000 bags from around 25 of the world's most beloved luxury brands - including Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Chloé and Dior, to name a few - savvy Hong Kong fashionistas have now the option the last favorites of the season for one month at a time. To give you a better idea of the Style Theory business model, we've embarked on a month-long trial.
How it works
Style theory works on a membership subscription model. Becoming a member is simple: all you have to do is select "join the waiting list" and enter your details on its website. An invitation to join can be expected within five days.
Once your membership is confirmed, registration, ordering and organization of returns are done on the Style Theory app. There is also a chat feature that allows you to speak to the team in real time, and the app says that the customer service team will usually get back to you within 24 hours - however, I have sometimes experienced a slowdown. 'longer wait, up to several days, apparently due to a spike in inquiries.
The first step is to subscribe to its services. It costs HK $ 899 per month, which entitles you to a purse for 30 days.
You also have the option of adding HK $ 420 to rent a second bag. You will need to return your first bag, however, before you can get your second. This does mean, however, that you will be able to enjoy one new bag after another within a month, for a total of HK $ 1,319. Not a bad option for those who want to enjoy a new designer handbag on their arms every two weeks.
Style Theory says it's not unusual for members to want to continue renting their bag beyond the first month. For those on the one-bag subscription plan, there is the option to extend the rental period for an additional month. To do this, all you need to do is renew your subscription for a second month at the same price.
I realize that I have always leaned towards oversized models when shopping for bags. Because of this, I have a wardrobe full of tote types. None of them ever seem to work for a night out or as a simple bag that I can swing over my shoulders.
So for this essay I decided I would go for something smaller for a change. Fendi's By the Way in charcoal quad-color and full size caught my eye - I wasn't quite ready to be as small as the brand's popular Mini Wave Peekaboo.
For my second bag, there is still a large pool to choose from. (There is a HK $ 6,000 deposit for Chanel and Hermès.) But after looking at the Saint Laurent Envelope bag for a few months now (and worried that it was too small compared to my usual choices), I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. I opted for the large crocodile embossed model in black with silver hardware.
Because I'm an avid buyer of second-hand designer bags, I do a lot of research into the retailer authentication process before committing to a purchase. Style Theory has a team of authentication experts who identify counterfeits. They also use a device from an AI technology company Entrupy, which scans and captures microscopic images of the bag, and compares the model, serial code, material, as well as stitches and grain of the leather to a database, which can identify consistency and authenticity . The algorithm of the device becomes more sophisticated as it collects data.
Enjoying your new arm candy
Style Theory rentals are delivered via DHL. They are packaged in recyclable packaging and Style Theory branded dust bags. We are told not to throw away the wrappers - they must be used to return the bag. In a way, this helps to minimize the environmental impact, in accordance with the brand's philosophy. Returns are organized via the app: choose the desired time and date, and DHL will collect your package and send it back to Style Theory.
The bag comes with an interior and exterior condition checklist, detailing any minor imperfections that style theory has already addressed. For added peace of mind, members can pay for `` Style Theory Care, '' an optional fee of HK $ 99 per month which is essentially accidental damage insurance. With Style Theory Care, you'll never have to pay more than HK $ 450 for repair costs for minor accidents - the company covers the rest. And if a repair costs less than HK $ 450, you will pay the lowest cost. This does not however cover irreparable damage, loss or theft. If this happens, members will have to pay the evaluation price of the bag.
I found myself very careful with the bags as they are rented - but also relieved that the Style Theory team could be easily reached through the chat feature in the app, which members will need to do if they have any issues. with minor damage. to the bag.
And as you might expect, I enjoyed the experience of having new bags to play with, without having to pay the retail price, or commit to buying them without knowing if they're right for me. The Fendi By the Way was just the right size for going out: it made me realize that I can really survive without packing half of my apartment with me in my oversized handbags. Meanwhile, the Saint Laurent wrap, a versatile choice, has become an everyday favorite.
And good news for those who get attached to the bags they rent: some bags are available for purchase through the Style Theory app.
Learn more about Style theory online.
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