The founder and CEO of award-winning social fashion rental app By Rotation shows us her desk...
Where are you working from at the moment?
At my home in Marylebone, London.
What keeps you calm when you are working?
An up-to-date calendar, a daily to-do list, Saffron my cavapoo by my side.
What was the idea behind By Rotation?
The idea for By Rotation came with an all-too-common first-world problem when planning my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India: what to wear. After researching the global fashion rental landscape and discovering the impacts of textile waste in my own hometown, I set out to create a self-sustaining community of fashion lovers who could rotate what they owned with each other. It was important for me from day one to create an inclusive community and to make it all about the regular consumers (as opposed to fashion insiders) - given my own experiences as a "third culture kid" (India, Singapore, US and UK) and having a career in a completely unrelated profession (investment management). Today we’re the world’s first social fashion rental app, putting community first.
What have you got on your desk right now?
My laptop, Papier journals, post-its, a Christian Lacroix pen-holder, a Byredo candle, an Anissa Kermiche vase with fresh flowers, a green Bottega Veneta (rented from the By Rotation app of course) and my Bowers & Wilkins speaker.
Le Moderne Notebook, 19.99
Maison de Jeu Pen Pot, £24
Popotin ceramic vase, £66
Bohemia Candle, £31
Bowers & Wilkins
T7 Speaker, 164.95
How do you feel fast fashion is changing?
The younger generations are much more aware of the climate crisis and are asking all the difficult questions that I never did when it came to shopping habits. Fast fashion needs to keep up with the savvy yet conscious Gen Z and Gen Alpha, and there’s a need for these fast fashion retailers to emotionally connect with them before they lose them altogether. Fast fashion has begun doing better story-telling but still falls behind when it comes to make the conscientious choices.
What motivates you to be a pioneer into the sustainable rental culture?
Not very long ago, I was a regular unsuspecting shopper - I didn’t dig too much into the products and companies I was buying (besides whatever I knew from my day job as an investment analyst) and I was constantly marketed to. I’ve been passionate about including the end customer from day 1 of founding By Rotation - it’s key to me that this stakeholder is not forgotten in our journey of a full circular fashion system.
Do you have any little routines, or pick me-ups that you do when working from home to help with concentration?
I love to play some of my favourite music (which often takes me back to when I was younger!) - it gets me in a confident mood and lifts my spirits!
How do you see fast fashion evolving in the future?
There will always be a group of people who will purchase fast fashion because of its price point, but I believe society is becoming more literate on the whole. We’re expecting better and higher quality regardless of our background, so there will be a shift towards buying better and buying less.
We live in a time when more than ever we are conscious about the environment, fair labour costs and the working conditions in the factories. How do you feel about fast fashion and how brands treat their workers? How does your app help to avoid this?
Unfortunately, a majority of the mainstream shoppers are not aware of the working conditions of most garment workers. The lockdown was a very sad time for the fashion industry as it brought out the inherent exploitation and racism embedded in its culture. Ever since I returned from my honeymoon, I’ve never shopped fast fashion. I hope that these fast fashion giants will produce better quality, lower quantity and pay better wages to their garment workers. The entire industry needs to shift upwards, and until then I - and hopefully many others - will abstain. The By Rotation app and our community enables you to access “new” fashion at competitive price points that beat fast fashion - thereby convincing the mainstream shoppers to consider rotating as opposed to buying low quality, little-used pieces.
Second hand or vintage clothing has always been very coveted to purchase, have you found Gen-Z gravitating towards By Rotation?
We’ve got quite a few students and graduates joining the By Rotation app which is extremely exciting. We see them trying out mature brands from their “style matches” on the app - you know, that big sister dynamic! Our app is very social, so it’s natural that the target demographic is millennial and Gen Z.
What is next for By Rotation?
We’re announcing a handful of partnerships with extremely stylish individuals I personally admire, and a very cool collaboration with another company that I’m sure we all love! Naturally, we also have an exciting update on the tech front given our focus on product, but my lips are sealed!
What is next for you?
I recently learnt that I won a huge accolade, which was a very nice surprise - can’t wait to share more on that soon. I’m also working on compartmentalising better - I can’t stress how busy my life has become since founding By Rotation. I thought life on the trading floor was mad…
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