In 2016, what started as a personal dilemma of feeling like she had nothing to wear turned into a business opportunity for Raena Lim, co-founder of Style Theory. Armed with the knowledge that others faced the same problem, she and her now-husband, Chris Halim, took the plunge to start an online, subscription-based designer fashion rental service.
Today, Style Theory is Southeast Asia’s largest circular fashion platform, offering a look at the future of sustainable fashion. Raena discusses the future of fashion, and why design quality is so important in a more sustainable future.
It started because I faced this problem of standing in front of my bursting wardrobe and feeling like I have nothing to wear. I still remember my partner saying, “But, look at all these clothes! You have more than enough things to wear.” From there, we started asking our friends and found that many women also faced this problem of having nothing to wear even when they have a wardrobe full of clothes.
So, we started brainstorming to figure out how to build a platform that can provide an extensive selection of clothing to women in a financially and environmentally sustainable way. That's how we started Style Theory – a cloud wardrobe.
At the moment, we’re focused on womenswear and luxury handbags, and have made a conscious decision to work with designer pieces, as they’re extremely well-made and can withstand the rigours of rental. But, there’s so many other areas we can get into! We see strong potential in childrenswear, selling second-hand items, or maybe even doing more purposeful upcycling and restoration of fashion pieces.
In the long-run, what we really want is to help consumers find more ways to participate in circular fashion. So far, Style Theory has facilitated over 2.3 million rentals, which has prevented around 600,000 fashion pieces from entering the landfills prematurely. We want to increase this number and work towards a zero-waste fashion future – and that’s what really guides our company.
I foresee that sustainable fashion will become the norm. For instance, consumers will be more conscious about what they buy, and invest in better quality items that can last longer. Designers will also become more aware about using sustainable suppliers and higher quality production processes. In the future, there’ll no longer be a need for eco-labels because everything will be eco-friendly and sustainable.
Watch the video below to learn more about Raena’s journey as a co-founder of Style Theory:
Check out the other videos in the Igniting Conversations with Futurists of Singapore series. Hosted by Markus Schuster, Managing Director of Audi Singapore, the series celebrates the inspiring stories and aspirations of six local changemakers, and how they are creating a better future in their own ways.