They say in fashion, everything is circular. And nobody is more aware of that than fashion rental app By Rotation’s founder, Eshita Kabra.
For those unfamiliar with the app, let me distil it down for you. By Rotation is a free peer-to-peer fashion rental service, which enables users to rent and lend their wardrobes, meaning you get plenty of bang for your buck and can switch it up as and when you choose to.
Think new-season Saks Potts, Dior or even Hermes is out of your budget? Think again. The platform, which launched in October 2019 and now boasts over 32,000 users offers fresh fashions at a fraction of the price to rent over a few days.
But Kabra’s journey into fashion was an unlikely one. Following a successful stint in the city as an investment analyst, the entrepreneur established ‘the Airbnb of fashion’ after noticing a gap in the market. She’s a shimmering success story if ever we saw one.
We caught up with Kabra to find out how she’s been finding lockdown and the things she can’t be without.
What does 2021 look like at present moment for you?
It’s been a hectic start to the year with By Rotation receiving tremendous momentum and news flow. We repositioned ourselves as the world’s first social fashion rental app recently and launched some exciting new features this week enabling our users to really interact on the platform. I’m also closing our first round of investment and over the moon with the calibre of investors we have on-board.
What’s on the cards for the rest of the year?
I grew up in Singapore, where it’s often joked that our national hobbies are shopping and eating. So I have a couple of related resolutions. Firstly, to buy less fashion and ‘rotate’ more from other users on the By Rotation app instead. It’s a great way to ensure I only invest in quality pieces that I’ll love forever, and rent the trend-led pieces belonging to others instead. It appeals to the practical side of me and also the social side that loves to be connected to people of varied backgrounds. The added bonus is the climate conscience I’ve gained throughout my own journey in consuming less.
And secondly, to get back into my yoga practice. Prior to lockdown, I was a religious barre and yoga student - it helped me in disconnecting from an intense career for the past six years. I’m finding that space for myself is becoming a priority given the rapid professional journey I am on.
What have been your five wardrobe staples whilst WFH?
Jacquemus’ La Robe dress which I wear as a maxi cardigan over slip dresses. Isabel Marant Etoile Dobbs trousers, a sale purchase at the beginning of lockdown which I’m wearing right now! Olivia von Halle silk pyjamas - I don’t own anything in this colour and I just love it now. House of Sunny’s Poolside Cardigan, a super fun top to wear during Zoom calls - when it’s not being rented out! And Reformation’s butterfly dress for those dressier days, often with a cardigan or jumper on top.
What’s your current skincare routine?
I’m no expert when it comes to beauty-related items, but simple and high quality is my way to go. For face, I use Botane whipped cleanser in the shower, followed by Clarins purifying toning lotion and SK-II facial treatment essence.
I then spray some Origins Ginzing Energy-Boosting Mist and wear either Hylamide pore control serum or Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. Lastly, for moisturiser I wear either Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm or SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age. For my body, I love using Nuxe Dry Oil Huile Prodigieuse.
What is the one item you can’t live without?
Green tea in the morning… I’m not big on breakfast but herbal tea is a great way to start the day!
How do you incorporate time for yourself into your schedule?
I subscribe to the lean startup movement and am involved in every aspect of By Rotation, so I’m still working on this! It’s the little things - going for a walk with my dog Saffron, catching up with my families in Singapore/New York City/Cookham over Facetime and getting back into my yoga practice have allowed me to have personal time unrelated to the business.
What has been your favourite guilt-free pandemic purchase?
I purchased a couple of beautiful paintings from John Lloyd that have brought my home office space together. I love supporting independent artists, it’s so important to keep their trade going during this difficult time for all. I especially love how we were introduced via a user of the By Rotation community. It reminds me of why I built our concept - to create conversations that go beyond just fashion and rental!
What’s the one fashion brand you wish more people knew about?
Maryam Nassir Zadeh - I love everything she styles and creates and wish her pieces were more easy to find in the UK as I would love to rent them on our app!