Get To Know The Woman Behind The World’s First Social Fashion Rental App, By Rotation
Creating a style-conscious community without harming the planet
While growing up, watching Blake Lively in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, where she shares a pair of denim pants with her friends across the globe, always made me wonder how special it would be to do something similar with my friends. Former investment banker and founder of By Rotation, Eshita Kabra-Davies, is making this fantasy a reality. Her brainchild, By Rotation, is a UK-based social fashion rental app that offers its users the best of both worlds. You can rent and lend your wardrobe within their community where they have products like the Birkin bag, Burberry trenches, Diane von Fürstenberg dresses and ensembles from Reformation in their listings.
Listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2021: Technology, founder Eshita talks to ELLE India about creating a community of trend-savvy individuals without harming the planet.
ELLE: When did you first learn about the idea of sustainability?
Eshita Kabra-Davies (EKD): Being born in suburban Rajasthan and then moving to city-state Singapore at the age of two, I always had eye-opening moments during my summer holidays visiting India. The concept of a milkman, neighbourhood farmers’ market, animal waste used as an energy source and of course, up-cycling old sarees to be made into rugs… all these memories instilled a deep sense of respect for community and resourcefulness.
ELLE: What inspired you to create an app like By Rotation?
EKD: I wanted to create a platform that enabled like-minded women – stylish but pragmatic – to borrow from each other’s wardrobe. During my honeymoon to Rajasthan, India, I began to understand how wasteful the fashion industry truly is and how much it affected my own motherland. I knew then that By Rotation (unnamed at that point!) had to be a fully circular business model that would empower regular unsuspecting fashion lovers to take charge of their consumption habits simply by sharing.
ELLE: How is By Rotation different from other fashion rental platforms?
EKD: We’re the world’s first social fashion rental app – dubbed as the Instagram of fashion rental. We’re completely community-led, given our peer-to-peer model, so it’s really up to our users to decide what’s trending on the app. This has created a much more democratic approach to luxury fashion. While fashion is how By Rotation has begun, there are certainly many aspects of one’s lifestyle that can be rotated… It’s all about the sharing economy and redefining ownership”.
ELLE: How do you ensure that By Rotation remains inclusive, diverse and fully sustainable?
EKD: As a completely peer-to-peer model, we are all about our community. Whether it’s by creating a fully accessible app open to people of all genders, ages and backgrounds or by always representing the everyday customer through our user-generated content in marketing. I’m extremely passionate about creating an approachable and accessible brand that makes the concept of sustainable fashion mainstream.
ELLE: Was creating a community always a part of the plan? How important is this aspect for the future of sustainable fashion consumption?
EKD: The community will always be our North Star. There is too much product out there – the fashion industry has been producer (or designer) oriented for too long. It rarely cares about what the consumer wants and has always made decisions for us based on ‘what’s hot and what’s not’. I’m passionate about solving the fashion industry’s waste problem from the perspective of an average consumer. Every customer needs to be empowered to make their purchase more circular and therefore sustainable. And any fashion sharing platform needs to understand that the end consumers must be given total control of their own items and consumption habits. That is how you create a revolution!
ELLE: What recommendations would you like to give our readers who want to move towards conscious/responsible fashion consumption while keeping up with the trends?
EKD: Start small. Take stock (literally) of your wardrobe. I use the By Rotation app to track all my purchases (which have halved over the past year alone!) and note which items are most in-demand for rental or most-favourited on the app. At the same time, start buying less, buying better and sharing more. We’ll always love the feeling of something new, but does that item need to be completely new, produced and created just for you? New is an experience, not a material object.
ELLE: What are your plans for global expansion?
EKD: It’s no secret that we have ambitious international plans, as we strive to be the go-to fashion rental app for all, transforming how fashion is consumed. In the next few years, I see By Rotation as a household name in five countries. Over 10 million active users rotate their wardrobe and lifestyle, and a measurable positive impact on the fashion industry’s waste problem.
ELLE: What was the last product you rented using By Rotation?
EKD: I last rented an Olivia the Label dress from one of my favourite lenders on the app! And the last item I lent out was my Jacquemus yellow ribbed knit dress – I love it so much!
Whether it’s building a community that is inclusive and diverse, following a circular fashion model, venturing into virtual technologies and advocating sustainable practices, By Rotation is an app that will deem vital to all, and we can’t wait for its launch in India!