‘The fashion industry is pretty broken’: Startup targets recycled luxury fashion
Disturbed by her bulging wardrobe, Hannon Comazzetto saw an opportunity for a luxury fashion resale platform.
The 27-year-old launched AirRobe five months ago with the aim of extending the lifespan of fashion.
“The fashion industry is pretty broken,” Ms Comazzetto said. “It’s responsible for 90 million tonnes of textile landfill annually. There is a real generational shift in consumers who are wanting to dress sustainably and buying pre-loved quality designer items makes the most sense.”
Ms Comazzetto is looking to tap into a booming market led by global giant The RealReal, which is valued at $US1.5 billion ($2.18 billion), and Vestiaire Collective which has attracted over 7 million customers.
GlobalData reports the second-hand economy is projected to grow to nearly 1.5 times the size of fast fashion, to a value of $US64 billion within the next 10 years.
Ms Comazzetto spent a couple of months “hacking the product together” before she was accepted into the StartMate accelerator program which included an investment of $75,000 for a 7.5 per cent stake in AirRobe.
There is a real generational shift in consumers who are wanting to dress sustainably and buying pre-loved quality designer items makes the most sense.Hannon Comazzetto
AirRobe enables users to sell and rent clothes but Ms Comazzetto said the platform is “much more focused” on resale.
“Speaking to consumers, one of the things we have learnt is that a lot of them are starting to see the purchasing of fashion as much more of an asset than an expense,” she said. “We think the next generation will be wanting to own their items more rather than spending a lot of money to have a new outfit every weekend.”
Listing on AirRobe is free and the platform charges a 17 per cent commission on sales.
The platform automatically edits photos, assists with categorisation of listings and provides authenticity guarantees and condition guarantees.
AirRobe has signed up 20,000 customers since its launch in July and is turning over around $20,000 a month.
Ms Comazzetto said The RealReal and Vestaire are “definitely competitors” but AirRobe offers a different model with a focus on businesses rather than peer-to-peer.
“We are helping businesses get involved once you solve the friction of getting listed online,” she said. “There is a tonne of nascent supply from bricks-and-mortar stores selling vintage fashion that doesn’t get online because of that friction. Looking forward we are excited to be working with fashion brands themselves to enter this space and provide their customers a buy back solution.”
The buyback model is one used by The RealReal which has a partnership with Stella McCartney where customers who sell Stella McCartney clothes on The RealReal receive a $100 credit to spend at the fashion label.
AirRobe will look to raise under $1 million in a seed funding round next year.
“Currently we are focused on extending the life of quality designer items but I want to start working with businesses as well to make sure textiles are not landfill,” Ms Comazzetto said. “I see us being able to really start to catalogue the worlds used fashion and match it to as many opportunities as possible.”
Startmate chief executive James Tynan said the accelerator was thrilled to find founders like Ms Comazzetto on a mission to take on a huge market.
“Pre-loved designer fashion is exploding in growth and AirRobe has the potential to help shape the future of the category,” he said.
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Source: Thanks smh.com