How to reduce your fashion waste footprint

The sharing economy has single-handedly changed the way we travel thanks to companies like Uber and Airbnb, and now looks set to change the way we approach fashion. Designerex is an Australian start-up confident that we'll take to sharing our clothes with the same enthusiasm that we have sharing our cars and our homes on holidays.

"When I used to be a real estate agent, I had an upcoming awards night that required something special to wear. Ultimately, I realised that for the dress I really wanted, I would need to spend around $1000 but I knew I would only wear it once or twice," says Kirsten Kore, founder of Designerex. "I ended up renting the dress for a fraction of the price from a girl on Facebook, but it wasn’t very secure, so that’s where the idea for Designerex started to evolve. There was no secure end-to-end solution for women to rent and lend designer dresses between each other."

A new take on mindful fashion

It's one of the latest advancements in the mindful fashion movement, which will continue to be a huge topic in 2019. "Fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, so of course, this needs to change," says Kirsten. Simply buying fewer new clothes is a very real and effective way we can help the environment. "Mindful fashion to us means sustainability. It means a world where fashion is consumed in a way that is ethically, economically and environmentally viable in the long run," says Kirsten.

What is peer-to-peer sharing?

Other sites like Rent The Runway operate on a model where the actual business does the lending. They buy designer clothes and rent them like a kind of fashion library. They're more like an upmarket version of a formal hire store. Peer-to-peer sharing is exactly that: women renting their clothes out directly to other women. "We've become the world’s largest peer to peer designer dress sharing platform, with over 11,000 listings. There are several other fantastic platforms, most with around 2000-3000 listings." Dresses are listed available to rent for a fixed period. The listing will detail how long you borrow the garment, but the usual is around four days.

What’s on there?

There are literally thousands of garments (not only dresses, there are jumpsuits and pants too) available to rent ranging from $20 through to $500 per rental. The site will only list a garment with an RRP of $250 or more. A significant proportion of the garments are Australian designers like Zimmermann, Ellery, Carla Zampatti and Spell, but there are also plenty of overseas labels too (think: Gucci, Acne Studios, Prada and Hervé Léger.)

What if a dress doesn’t fit?

Like other e-commerce platforms, there’s a pretty simple process for dealing with issues like dresses not fitting or problems with condition of the garment. “Most transactions run seamlessly. In the rare event of a hiccup such as damage, there is a dispute resolution process that is followed,” says Kirsten. “If a dress does not arrive on time or is in any way arrives different to its description, then there is a 100 per cent refund guarantee."

How safe is it?

Renters are required to scan their driver's license or passport as part of the order process. “We were also the first to start aggregating the listings of both individuals and smaller dress rental businesses that are beginning to pop up everywhere, in order to enable consumers to compare different providers, just like they do on platforms like Expedia.”

Check out Designerex for more information.

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