A new website is allowing aspiring fashionistas in Hong Kong to flaunt the latest designer handbags — on a budget.
Last November, businessman Tim Kau, fashion purveyor Bobo Rok, and celebrity Rosemary Vandenbroucke launched LuxTNT.com, an online service that rents out luxury handbags at just a fraction of their retail price. Now, instead of spending HK$33,000 on the Swarovski Dragon Minaudière by Judith Leiber, consumers can rent it for just HK$627 per day. Based in Kennedy Town, the company maintains a collection of handbags by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Elisabeth Koch, Chanel, and Givenchy.
The idea is not a new one, but the website is a first for Hong Kong. The New York handbag rental site Bag Borrow or Steal, famously featured in the movie Sex and the City, inspired LuxTNT.com.
Rok tells The South China Morning Post that the service carries great appeal for people of the Internet age, when people are particularly self-conscious about being photographed with the same accessory on different occasions.
“We’re in the era of Instagram, everybody is a celebrity who’s been photographed and ‘selfied’ – and no one wants to be seen wearing the same thing on their own account. It’s a new online world out there.”
Though geared primarily toward female shoppers, the website is also developing a surprising male customer base, says Rok.
“I never expected men to come and rent clutches. With my past in the mining industry, the fashionably fabulous wanting to rent clutches or request ‘murses’ [men’s purses] has been a pleasant surprise. They’ve requested a men’s line. That’s something we will have to expand into – clearly, there’s a demand for it.”
The company plans to extend their service to other kinds of accessories, as well as expand into the major cities of mainland China.
“We already have hats, jewelery is next and we’ve opened an office in Shanghai,” Vandenbroucke said.
The proprietors also stated that their rentals are helping, rather than hindering, designers, by providing Chinese consumers with brand education, allowing potential customers to try the bags before they purchase them, and providing a space for lesser-known brands to advertise online.
“We are not cutting into their market – we are helping these brands, educating our audiences and manually curating this collection,” says Vandenbroucke. “We buy the bags at full cost. We are showcasing the fine ‘it’ bags – the most trendy and seasonal bags for the consumer – for them to try it out. If they want to buy it, they can.”
image credit: luxtnt