Jheal Shah: Redefining the Fashion Industry with the Rental Business
Jheal Shah

The fashion industry is one of the most volatile. The trends today won’t be the same tomorrow. This industry keeps updating itself with each passing day, and new trends takeover old ones within just a few days. There were days when fashion was mocked as a mistake of the tailors but the influence of social media has created ripples in the fashion industry. The industry, which was once only limited to wealthy people, has now penetrated every grade of society and people have started wearing designer clothes more than usual.

However, for many people, buying fashionable designer clothes was not a go-to option. It was not viable  economically and they were looking for better options of wearing designer’s clothes without investing too much money for their special occasions. Jheal Shah, one of the enthusiastic entrepreneurs, spotted this trend and established The Stylease – a company based on the fashion rental business. The Stylease rents out designer clothes and accessories at 10% of the retail cost for a 4 day period. It also offers 8 day rentals for family occasions and for brides and grooms. Jheal started the business about five years ago, and now her team ships ethnic and western wear all over India.

From Where it Started

Jheal’s mom and sister are both fashion designers, so she got introduced to the industry early on. In her house, fashion is a way of life, not a job. When she was studying abroad, she saw several companies that were running successful rental businesses in London and the USA, and that idea struck her as a remarkable way to create a sustainability-based fashion company. When she moved back to India and was looking for a new idea to disrupt the fashion business, she remembered these companies and took inspiration from there to start The Stylease.

Jheal said, “Fashion has always been a volatile industry when it comes to everchanging trends and the fact that we have fashion week every six months is testament to that fact. It is almost a guarantee that you will see something new in fashion twice a year, every year.”

In today’s times, the volatility has expanded to other aspects of the industry, but the resilience of people remains the same. This generation is used to the fast-paced, dynamic environment, so the current circumstances are easier to adapt to.

Challenge of Beginning

In the beginning, Team Stylease faced a lot of backlash and confusion. Since it was a new business model, most people hadn’t heard about it in the past. They had to spend a lot of time educating their future customers on why the idea of renting fashionable wear was good for them and the environment. They had to spread awareness on how they were helping pollute the planet less by renting and re-wearing clothes instead of constantly buying new ones. This led to a lot of their early customers becoming their permanent vendors who gave their own outfits to rent on the platform of Stylease immensely helping the organization to move forward in ways they had not thought possible when the organization was established.

Under the Shadow of the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic not only stopped the world but also damaged every industry. It also hit the Stylease Team badly and they had to shut down their permanent store in Mumbai. But there were some silver linings in the pandemic too. The pandemic shifted the world into the digital zone and new ways of business emerged. These tough times gave Stylease the opportunity to expand online and to promote internet shopping like never before. The team is working on its mission to make Stylease a digital first company.

Jheal remarks that her experience of working with fashion designers has been very rewarding – to create an inclusive environment within the industry. Fashion has always been looked like a niche industry in the past, but now via companies like Stylease, people can access top brands at 10% of the retail cost and actually be able to wear top designer’s clothes for their special occasions which has always been their dream.

The Reflective Virtues

The idea of renting clothes provides the option of affordability, and in other perspectives, it can be seen as a go-green strategy. Whenever people buy new clothes, they literally put one cloth behind, whose disposal sometimes leads to pollution. But it won’t be the case with rental clothes. This model would be showing the industry another way in which they can build sustainable fashion businesses.

Jheal said, “By renting outfits, we not only help reduce the pollution caused by the fashion industry around the globe but also help current generations get access to big-name designers which they never thought possible at this stage of their lives.”

Exploring the Perspectives

Jheal said, “I think true following is built when people feel like they’re a part of your brand and what you’re building; when you don’t have to sell them your idea, they intuitively understand it and volunteer to be a part of it.”

Team Stylease feels lucky to have clients like that, and that’s what has helped the organization to expand its following on social media as well. Team Stylease always only put up content that felt true to its brand and vision that really helped it to grow.

“We are grateful for the trust and opportunity to be a part of people’s lives this way and help them make their dream outfits into a reality,” said Jheal.

Jheal looks forward to expanding the clientele of Stylease and have warehouses and exhibits in other cities so the team can provide better services to their customers.

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