Experiment with fashion without the guilt: “We’re not asking you to buy less, instead, we’re asking you to choose well and rent smart.”
Responsible consumerism has a new front in fashion: Clothing rental brands that are reducing wasteful consumption while upping our outfit options. From Sunday brunch to work-appropriate garb, Raena Lim has built up Style Theory for trendy urbanites to look and feel their best for any occasion, sans the wardrobe clutter.
We chat with this fashion-loving co-founder of one of the pioneering fashion rental platforms in Singapore, following the launch of its first brick-and-mortar store at [email protected] (Psst: Nip in for not just fashion, but interior inspo too).
Hi, Raena! What’s the story behind Style Theory?
Style Theory was created to alleviate the problem of women looking at a bursting wardrobe yet feeling like they have ‘nothing to wear’. With smaller homes and tinier spaces, closet space should be reserved for clothes you truly utilise and love. We also wanted to make the pursuit of style an accessible and hassle-free experience for the busy woman.
Tell us what you love about dressing up and experimenting with style.
Style is your personal expression and the right outfit can boost your mood and make the right impression. At Style Theory, we want women to be empowered to dress however they like, and with the option of our Infinite Wardrobe rental subscription, our subscribers can enjoy endless style possibilities.
What are your thoughts on sustainability in fashion?
Sustainability has been a buzzword of late, but it has always been the heart of our business. We’ve been striving to lead the fashion revolution and make fashion consumption more sustainable.
Why buy something that you’ll only wear once? It’s alarming that many people only wear 20% of the clothes they own and still continue to buy more. There are many outlets to be more conscious about our fashion consumption these days, with reselling, sharing and renting options.
Where would you go to people-watch for fashion inspiration?
I’m largely inspired when I travel. When I travel to and from our Singapore and Jarkarta offices, I love checking out travel fashion at the airport. Aside from that, my weekends are spent exploring different food jaunts and spotting women wearing Style Theory clothes!
Who do you follow for style inspiration?
I’m inspired by international content creators who have made a name for themselves: Aimee Song, Chriselle Lim and many others have built successful businesses in fashion and content production.
Style Theory gives customers the option of a styling session with an image consultant. What insights can our readers expect to gain from this?
I’ve been meaning to try the styling sessions as I’ve heard good things from the team and happy customers. I would say the styling session is for you to discover your personal style: Understanding how you should dress for your body shape and learning to have fun with style is something to take away from these sessions.
Getting professional advice is also great for those who want to make the right impression at a job interview, meeting or an event with a specific dress code!
What does personal style mean to you?
Prior to Style Theory, I was working in finance and was always dressed in corporate styles and ‘safe’ colours. Now, I embrace colours more and have fun experimenting with different silhouettes like asymmetric hemlines and ruffles. Personal style is all about what makes you feel good about yourself. It’s what gives you confidence to seize the day, be it an important presentation or big date!
Could you share your top three fashion tips with us?
1. Experiment with styles that enhance your favourite features; for instance, I like midi and maxi dresses as opposed to shorter styles because I think I pull them off better with my height.
2. Bags can enhance your look, so if you’re looking for an extra pop of colour, pick a bright one to go with a minimal outfit!
3. Pick your outfit out the night before to avoid rushing in the morning. If you value your mornings like I do, you wouldn’t want to spend the morning feeling flustered while trying to choose an outfit.
We noticed that Style Theory has a luxury bag consignment option where people can rent their designer arm candy. Tell us what sparked this idea.
Having owned many designer bags myself, I felt that the lesser-used bags took up unnecessary space and required a lot of maintenance. These sentiments were also shared by many of my friends. My team and I then realised: If we can create a platform for renting and sharing clothes, why don’t we also leverage on that to share our bags with others?
Thus, we created the Style Theory Bags consignment programme, revenue sharing with consignors when their bags are rented out. It’s been garnering a lot of love since, and we’ve expanded to now taking on cleaning and restoration services all in-house!
We’ve also launched Style Theory Share, a designer apparel consignment programme where we revenue-share with the consignors when their apparel is rented or sold. It’s been fulfilling to give designer apparel a second life and offer more designer brands and styles to our subscribers.
If you could only pick one brand of apparel to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It’s tough because there are so many different reasons why I support a designer, such as their sustainable practices and ethically-responsible ethos. If I really had to pick only one, it would be Elliatt because of the quality and figure-flattering designs.
What impact does Style Theory aim to have?
We want to change the way people consume fashion by promoting mindful and responsible consumption with less wastage. We’re not asking you to buy less, instead, we’re asking you to choose well and rent smart. We want our subscribers to become advocates themselves when they see an improvement in their consumption patterns, and so we’re working on building a greater community for like-minded women to share ideas and clothes.
Finally, what’s the one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a self-professed foodie but not the typical kind that you would expect! I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember and I love that there are now plant-based meat substitutes and a wider variety of alternatives that make eating a real adventure for me.