Meet The Inspirational Woman Leading The Fashion Rental Revolution
Meet The Inspirational Woman Leading The Fashion Rental Revolution

Meet The Inspirational Woman Leading The Fashion Rental Revolution

As the founder of luxury rental platform Cercle, Coco Baraer Panazza knows a thing or two about the pre-loved fashion revolution. Here, she tells us more about Cercle, what really matters in the world of sustainability and what inspires her own vintage aesthetic….
By Emma Bigger

My love of pre-loved fashion started over a decade ago. I remember spending Saturday afternoons browsing thrift stores in Brooklyn when I lived in New York. I was always on the lookout for unique pieces that told a story. It’s rare that a new piece will have the same richness as an old one. I love a treasure hunt and finding a hidden gem to add to my wardrobe.

Cercle was born out of my love of sharing and borrowing clothes. I wanted to build a platform that made renting as fun and inspiring as buying new. I recognised the environmental benefits and it became so fulfilling. Cercle takes its name from the French phrase ‘cercle d’amis’ or ‘circle of friends’, which references the circular economy of style and the community we’ve created. All of them want to consume less, but access more – and that’s what Cercle facilitates.

One of the greatest things about renting clothes is that your style can always evolve. You can take pieces for a test drive, take more risks and showcase different facets of your personality without the full financial commitment. It’s great to see renting and second-hand shopping become more mainstream – mainly because influential people, like Bay Garnett and Camille Charrière, are showing their followers how to shop and rent pre-loved, and how to style these pieces season to season. That said, there’s more to be done to extend the conversation beyond the fashion world and make it easier for others to join this conscious movement.

You can shop some of my own pieces on Cercle. I believe that passing pieces on brings me good karma. I got engaged in a stunning Borgo de Nor dress and it’s very popular on the platform. It will always be close to my heart and I love being able to share it with other women who can create meaningful memories wearing it.

To me, the definition of luxury is craftmanship, uniqueness and authenticity. Personally, I believe this can only be found on pre-loved and circular platforms. It’s the best way to access one-of-a-kind pieces from exclusive brands and it’s why more people are turning to rental and re-sell fashion sites – to find those pieces no one else is wearing.

Every decision I make is through a green lens. I constantly think about sustainability, and I am in the process of building an index to measure the core impact of renting versus buying. At Cercle, we go the extra mile to provide the best care for our clothes and extend their lifecycle – from the cleaning and technology we use to the people and brands we partner with.

My own style is best described as ‘eclectic bohemian’. I’ve always been quite bold and wear lots of vintage pieces I’ve never seen anywhere before. I customise a lot of my wardrobe, too – for example, I shorten dresses to turn them into tops and add shoulder pads to jackets to give them structure. My nomadic lifestyle has also played into this – I’ve picked up so many items from vintage stores and specialist boutiques all around the world.

My biggest style crush is Lauren Santo Domingo. Her style is flawless but it’s also so personal to her. She wears her clothes with such confidence  – I think that’s the true definition of good style.

I’m lucky to share a wardrobe with my partner. I love menswear and inherited a lot of pieces from my grandad when he passed away. We also collect and share a lot of hats, kimonos and jackets. My favourite piece is an oversized white men’s shirt that I wear on repeat. I always bring it with me when I’m travelling.

If I had to choose a favourite item in my wardrobe, it would be a hat my partner customised for my birthday. I also have a white vintage Japanese kimono that I bought in anticipation of my upcoming wedding. I love that it has a history to it and it will eventually take on my story too.

Every decision I make is through a green lens. I CONSTANTLY THINK ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY.

My favourite brands are Isabel Marant, La Double J and 16Arlington. I love the free-spirited designs of Isabel Marant – they have a cool elegance and remain timeless. La Double J works with some beautiful patterns and fabrics, and 16Arlington takes such as unique and maximalist approach to its collections.

When I buy something, I want it to hold memories. I love something becoming representative of a trip or moment in time – something that’s authentic to who you are. Most recently, I invested in a pair of black and white cowboy boots from Aeyde and a pair of vintage black leather pants. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought something on the high street. In my family, we have always shared our clothes and passed things down from generation to generation, as well as repaired and altered when necessary. It’s always been about quality over quantity, so I’ve never caught the fast fashion bug.

I love something becoming representative of a trip or moment in time – something that’s AUTHENTIC TO WHO YOU ARE.

I’m not a big follower of trends. Of course, I am inspired by them from time to time, but I tend to prefer wearing things that feel true to who I am. After lockdown I was inspired by the roaring 20s and embraced maximalism – feathers, sequins and embellishment were so alluring after months of staying in.

The reason I love fashion is it’s so multi-faceted. It has represented so many moments in history and can encapsulate a movement or a mood. It’s a great representation of culture and speaks to lots of people in different ways. Given the chance, I would love to steal Jimi Hendrix’s jackets and Carmen Busquets’s artisanal pieces, but maybe I’ll find one of these pieces through the pre-loved market. Now that would be a real treasure…


Photography by Victoria Adamson.

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