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IN CONVERSATION WITH STEVE BRYANT OF THE DEVOUT
The Devout is a new clothing experience for the UK whereby they present a unique monthly subscription service offering designer brands and vintage pieces. They’re the fashion rental revolution, reducing the volume of clothes going to landfill, providing the latest brands and current-season pieces without the impact, and helping you save money on your clothes. Customers can rent 5 pieces of their choice for just £79 a month. With premium brands available for both men and women, they deliver your box for free in sustainable packaging right to your doorstep. After you’re done The Devout will pick them up and wash them so you can then pick out your next 5 items, and if there’s a garment you particularly like, you can opt to buy it.
In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Steve Bryant, Founder of The Devout, and talked about what inspired him to set up a fashion rental company. He had noticed a gap in the market for everyday fashion rental after seeing the flourishing US subscription industry, and noticed it was only occasion wear being catered for here in the UK. With a successful background in marketing and eCommerce Steve set out to build the brand and rental technology a year ago. Our host Peter Brooker and Steve also chatted about how brands are selected for the website, laundry and repairs, changing buyer behaviours, adapting wardrobes for a new post-lockdown lifestyle, and being more conscious about sustainability.
What is the story of how you came to start The Devout?
“The website launched just under a month ago, but it has been a year of development. I discovered the concept of rental when I was in America last year. The whole concept of renting something is so far advanced over there. You can rent anything from a Mercedes Benz, Fashion, Homeware, and anything else you can think of. I then looked at what options were available for subscription rental here in the UK for men and women. I found that the only thing available was occasion wear for very specific events such as weddings. But there was nothing for everyday fashion, new season, and new trends. There was nothing available until we launched. My background is in marketing and ever since I was 18 when I left school I’ve been working within digital marketing and eCommerce roles. So, the first think I looked at was how to build this type of brand and technology. I’ve come at it at the angle of how do you build a piece of tech that enables you to rent clothes from an online proposition, in such a way that you can pick multiple items of your choice, and rent them on a subscription. That is what has taken a long time to perfect and refine into the service that you see now.”
What is the process for brand selection?
“When we were first looking at brands to feature, we looked into what brands would be appealing on a rental model, everyday brands, brands for occasions, and brands that regular guys like us wear on a day-to-day. We wanted a nice collection of items that men would wear daily which included brands that you might aspire to wear to give good value for money. Selected and Jack & Jones were the first partners that we brought onboard. Jack & Jones is a very mainstream and popular menswear brand, so it was key to get them onboard. We explain to the brand about the research we’ve done, and how there are thousands of customers looking at different ways to consume their fashion - such as rental - and we can deliver that to them. As well as daily wear, customers want something for work and something to go out in at the weekend for example. We ask brands if their collection matches that criteria. Since then, we’ve brought on Farah, Penguin, Ted Baker, and AllSaints. We’re starting to build up an arsenal of top-quality brands. Lockdown has made people realise that we’re doing a lot of damage to our planet and both brands and people are looking for ideas of how they can contribute to help. We can assist, support, and provide brands with our platform to give that accessibility to more customers. A lot of sustainable brands such as Knowledge Cotton Apparel have been very vocal with us and we’re working to put together a specific collection that will work well with our audience. There’s a lot of exciting brands that we will be introducing to the website over the next few months.”
This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 73 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Steve Bryant, Founder of thedevout.com. You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast player.