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Briefs | Travel

What’s in your suitcase?

More travelers may be asking this question in the near future if this newest wrinkle in the sharing economy catches on.

It’s clothing rental.

Lodging and startup entrepreneurs have gotten into the shared-wearing business. Why pack and schlep when you can get clothing at your destination?

For instance, fashion store Pimkie has installed miniature fashion bars at hotels Milan, Paris, Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium, with clothes available to buy via a minibar-type service.

Westin, a Starwood lodging brand geared toward health and wellness, offers guests running clothes and shoes to rent for $5 via its Westin WORKOUT Gear Lending program, created through a partnership with New Balance.

Virgin Hotel Chicago offers guests the option of buying clothes from Gap and have purchases delivered right to their rooms.

And a startup called unPack offers travelers — they need to become members — a suitcase of “curated” clothes to rent.

These types of services are available to any hotel guest, though millennials tend to be the most enthusiastic consumers for using a clothing rental service. A survey by Westfield Shopping in the United States and Britain found that almost half of 25- to 34-year-olds would be interested in a monthly rental plan for clothes.

While at first glance renting clothing might seem a bit strange, it does have its advantages for travelers. You don’t have to bring your clothes from home, and you don’t need to worry about paying checked-bag fees or dealing with lost luggage. Then, too, renting offers the average Joe and Josephine access to high-end brands that might out of their reach if they had to buy them.


Jill Schensul, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

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