Platforms and the pandemic: A case study of fashion rental platforms during COVID-19

17 November 2020

From Airbnb to Uber, the sharing or platform economy has reshaped many aspects of our economy and society. In recent years, fashion rental platforms have gained in popularity, fueling the introduction of the platform economy in fashion. When the COVID?19 pandemic hit, the impact on fashion rental platforms was abrupt, with demand disappearing seemingly overnight as events were cancelled and many people began working from home. Drawing on a case study of fashion rental platforms, we explore the immediate consequences of the pandemic on this segment of the platform economy, examining both the challenges these platforms face in the short?term and the strategies platforms have adopted to try and weather the storm. We highlight how the impact of the COVID?19 pandemic on fashion rental platforms thus far intersects with issues pertaining to value creation, precarious work, gender, and sustainable consumption. In doing so, we reflect on how fashion rental platforms inform understanding of the platform economy more broadly and conclude by suggesting themes for future research.