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Making Travel More Eco-friendly— the “Any Wear, Anywhere” Destination-based Clothing Rental Service

In July 2023, Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Airlines (JAL) launched a collaborative trial of the “Any Wear, Anywhere” clothing rental service for travelers arriving in Japan. The service not only affords passengers the convenience of traveling with less luggage, it also generates environmental value by lowering CO2 emissions. Miho Moriya, the program’s originator, describes its emergence and potential.

  • Beyond Mobility Business Dept., Transportation & Construction Systems Business Unit

    Miho Moriya

    Moriya joined Sumitomo Corporation in 2008, initially working in accounting for the Metal Products Business Unit. She was transferred to Mexico in 2013, where she handled accounting for all local corporate affairs. In 2016, she was assigned to accounting in the Transportation & Construction Systems Business Unit and in 2022, returning from maternity/childcare leave, took charge of new businesses in the Beyond Mobility Business Dept.

Leave Your Luggage Behind, Let Only You Journey— “Any Wear, Anywhere” Redefines Travel

This breakthrough clothing rental service redefines business and leisure travel with the catchphrase “conveying people, not luggage.” The trial program targets inbound visitors arriving on JAL flights, allowing them to reserve clothing online to be claimed at their hotel following arrival in Japan.

The program is measuring the degree that weight reductions in luggage enable reduced CO2 emissions from aircraft and, in turn, a decreased environmental burden. The trial service additionally contributes to a circular economy by relying on surplus clothing inventory and used garments. This sustainable tourism project, set to run through August 2024, parallels the global increase in airline passengers following the release of Covid-era travel restrictions.

<Service Flow>

1. After selecting their preferred rental clothing (filtering for gender, season, etc.) from the program website, users make their payment. In the form that arrives with the order confirmation email, users enter required information, including the flight reservation number, clothing pickup/return dates, and accommodation information, to complete the reservation. Payment must be made at least two weeks in advance, and the reservation must be completed at least one week prior to the date users want to pick up the clothes.

2. Laundered and pressed clothing is forwarded to the user’s hotel. Garments are procured from WEFABRIK Inc., an E-commerce platform for surplus and used apparel. Hakuyosha is also a collaborator, handling all garment laundering.

3. Users receive their order at the hotel reception desk. The program currently offers garments in 36 categories (reflecting gender, season, number of items) in sizes S-XL, with gradual expansion to include children’s clothing and sizes 2L and above.

4. Clothing may be returned to the front desk upon check-out. During the trial, the service is priced at ¥4,000 to ¥7,000, depending on the number of garments rented and other factors. The rental period is set at 2 weeks, with extension up to 4 weeks at additional cost.

  • User comments:

    A friend told me about “Any Wear, Anywhere”, and I decided to use the service as less luggage is environmentally friendly. I stay on top of environmental issues out of concern for the next generation. On this extended 2-week trip, I was able to travel with about half my usual luggage. I was pleased with the rental clothes and hope the service will expand worldwide for the sake of the planet.
    (a Canadian woman travelling in Japan, staying at a hotel in Yushima, Tokyo)

Minimizing the Inconvenience of Travel

Tell us how you came up with the concept of “Any Wear, Anywhere”

As a great travel enthusiast with visits to a total of 40 countries and 90 cities, I’ve always felt packing and post-trip laundry are such a drag. Food, shelter, and clothing are the big three concerns in travel, just as they are in daily life. Food is enjoyed at local restaurants and hotels offer shelter, but travelers have always had to carry around their own clothing, no matter where they venture. I thought changing that paradigm could have a great impact on society.

How did you realize the project?

The idea was triggered by the “0→1 (Zero to One) Challenge,” our intrapreneurship program which got off the ground in 2018. It was a great opportunity for me, as I had been hoping to start a new business since I joined the company. Although I was not selected the first year, I didn’t give up, and made it through to the finals the next year.

However, the project was halted in 2021 due to the pandemic. We had started an Instagram account after making it to the finals and were gathering lots of support from followers both in Japan and overseas, but the pandemic left us with no choice but to close it down.

How was the program subsequently revived?

Garments rented through “Any Wear, Anywhere” utilize surplus apparel inventory and used clothing

I was determined to find a chance to revive it. In 2022, I was fortunate to be transferred to the Beyond Mobility Business Dept. which handles new business. However, there was no guarantee at the time that “Any Wear, Anywhere” would be realized. I had been working in accounting for over 10 years and found the idea of continuing in that area appealing, but a little voice urged me to follow my dream. I reintroduce the proposal, which coincided with an increase in overseas visitors to Japan, enabling our trial to begin in July 2023.

Global Response Encourages Realization of Eco-Friendly Travel

What has been the public response to the program?

The program is primarily run by Miho Moriya (center), Kyoka Morita (left), and Tomohiro Nakano (right). The three roll up their sleeves and handle every aspect of the business from stocking warehouse shelves to ironing, packing, and even photographing garments.

Although we haven’t promoted the program, it has been covered by over 200 international media outlets, and our website has been accessed from individuals in over 150 countries including the US and Australia as well as nations in Europe and Asia.

Although the overall response to our sustainable travel has been positive, some have called for greater rigor, suggesting, for example, that aiming for lighter aircraft weight is not enough—that we should be focused on sustainable laundering and transport of clothing as well. I think this presents a rewarding challenge and opportunity for an integrated trading and business investment company involved in a broad range of businesses. The number of users is still not where we would like it to be, and the conversion rate(*) needs improving.

* An indicator showing the achievement rate of goals and results (service purchases/applications/inquiries, etc.) as described on the website.

How are you handling current issues?

Our immediate plan is to expand our size offerings and add children’s clothing. These days, we often hear of “inclusive tourism,” which strives to offer travel accessibility to all kinds of individuals. We hope to update our own services with that in mind, making them functional for a wider range of people.

The trial runs through August 2024, so how enthusiastic are you about commercialization?

The program is currently limited to visitors arriving in Japan on JAL flights, but eventually, we would like to include other airlines and expand the service overseas, making “Any Wear, Anywhere” an infrastructure available to people worldwide. I would like to create a world in which clothing awaits you wherever your destination may be.

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