Meet the founder of the UK's first fashion rental app - By Rotation.
Birthday parties, dinners out, dates - all events where you feel compelled to buy a whole new outfit that will likely never see the light of day again. Sound familiar? On the blog for you this week we have a really interesting interview with a brand that has such a cool concept that had never been attempted before. Aequem has had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of By Rotation, an app dubbed as the 'AirBnB of luxury fashion', that puts a stop to one time wear outfits!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background!
My name is Eshita Kabra-Davies and I’m the founder and CEO of By Rotation, the UK’s fashion rental app. A self-proclaimed “third culture kid”, I was born in Rajasthan, India, grew up in Singapore, lived in the US and have now settled in the UK. While I’m now working in the fashion, media and technology industries, I was an investment manager for the past 7 years.
When did you start to realise the fashion industry needed a change? Was there a particular event that made you realise or was it something you’ve always thought about?
I founded By Rotation as a side hustle in April 2019 before quitting my job in investment management in order to focus my time on bringing about change in the fashion industry. I was planning my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India and turned to Instagram for inspiration – cities to go to, hotels to stay at, landmarks to visit, restaurants to eat at and… what to wear! That’s when I started thinking about fashion rental and the lack of options in the UK, a very first-world problem, and how pragmatic it would be to just borrow from someone else.
When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app.
Talk to us a little bit about how By Rotation works?
Likened as the Airbnb of luxury fashion and the Depop of fashion rental, By Rotation is a free mobile app available to everyone in the UK. Users or Rotators can set up their profile, list items they want to lend out at their own prices and periods and renters can send rental requests to people. Users chat with each other via a secure messaging system and can follow each other - it’s a great way to discover people with your size and style! Rotators then rate and review each other after a rental and get paid shortly after. It’s a great way to do good for the planet, your wallet and wardrobe at the same time!
In the short time that By Rotation has been up and running, there has been a lot of buzz and success! What has been your most memorable or exciting moment?
There have been so many highlights since our app launched in October 2019 but I would say here are the top 2 that come straight to mind: the day our app launched (also the day I left my career in finance and we were featured in the Business of Fashion) and when Stacey Dooley called me to tell me she wants to lend out her wardrobe on our app to benefit Refuge, a charity against domestic violence!
Imagine you are talking to a person who has never considered renting or lending clothes as a way to refresh their wardrobe… What would you say to show them how important it is to consider alternative fashion options?
I’d show them photos of the same dress/item being worn by influencers and a photo of landfills covered in textile waste. I’d then inform them that fashion is one of the most polluting industries of the world and ask if they’ve heard of Uber/Airbnb! ;)
There are so many cool brands available to rent on your app! Do you have any personal favourites you wouldn’t mind renting yourself?
You are right… there are just so many amazing things on there already, it really excites me! I’d love to rent the following!
In the sustainable fashion market, there are varying price points… How accessible do you think sustainable fashion is? And how does By Rotation contribute to this?
Accessibility is key for us. I truly believe that making quality fashion available to people from all walks of life will help in curbing the linear path of consumption where the average person is on. This is why it’s been important for our lenders and renters to be able to set their own prices and time periods, so there is room for flexibility and negotiation. While sustainability within the fashion industry is gaining ground, I do believe affordability remains key to spreading awareness and appealing to the wider audience which are key to curbing fast fashion.
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Eshita her app By Rotation - such a forward thinking idea that we can definitely get behind! Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more content and visit Aequem to shop sustainable summer styles now!
Aequem Gang xo