By Robin Balser
Imagine the scene: groups of women meeting in a chic venue, sipping cocktails while dancing to the tunes spun by a live DJ, and refreshing their designer wardrobes with new outfits–all for next to nothing. Welcome to the world of swishing.
Thanks to a rising number of Clothes Swapping & Rental Sites worldwide, clothes swapping parties have had a huge surge in popularity lately, as women set out to refresh their closet by swapping clothes with random strangers. Initially, these events merely referred to as way of refreshing your closet over a cup of coffee. But modern-day swap events attract fashion lovers with buzzwords such as ‘swishing’, which implies an experience much richer than just changing clothes.
Now, nearly every weekend you can find heaps of female fashionistas flocking to the hippest neighbourhoods around the world to attend an event with a festival-like atmosphere that involves photo booths, runways, make-up courses, and of course clothing racks full of exciting pre-worn clothes. Many of these fashionistas work in the fashion industry themselves, and see events such as Swap in the City as a great means of having a bottomless wardrobe.
With this new festival-like swap experience, a new wave of startups have set out to create a swapping experience through technology, using apps and websites to attract clients . With an average of $550 of unworn clothes in the closets of British women and an average of 40% of clothes not being worn in closets all of Europe, the market seems tremendous.
Given these figures, more women are realising it may be more economical to simply rent outfits, especially those they only plan to wear to special occasions like weddings and black tie events.
Here’s our pick of the best swapping, rental and swishing sites that have set out to inspire people to have a sustainable closet for a better world, without having to make trade-offs on quality or style.
Top Clothes Swapping and Rental Sites
With their slogan “why shop, when you can swap” this networking site encourages clothes exchanges through a large number of swapping events. SwapAholics is the perfect site for girls who truly believe in the reuse, recycle notion of a better world for our future generations.
This is a UK based online swishing site, which aims at filling in a major sport in the ‘swishing -fashion’ craze. The site which provides instant access to a unique ‘clothing bank’ & virtual money system, leverages any picking & choosing of items in the most convenient way.
This is a novel way of giving girls the opportunity to change clothes every day without breaking the bank while making money from their wardrobe. This Peer-to-Peer and designers clothing rental marketplace gives girls unlimited access to clothing styles and is all about sharing.
Let’s face it–most of us don’t swan around in 6 inch Jimmy Choo Abigail shoes all day every day. When we do buy this type of shoe, it tends to get pulled out for special occasions, meaning if we wear them for, say, 6 special events a year, the price per wear works out to about £100. Cinderella Me charges far less than that for a week, and opens your wardrobe up to a whole world of shoe possibilities, from Louboutin and Choo to Rossi and Zanotti. We’re waiting for a similar site, Cindys Choos, to launch soon too!
This is one very innovative startup (based in US) which should be named here, next to its European peers. Forever fascinated with the sharing economy the Greek founders have set out to make swapping easy and efficient through a multi-person swap, aiming to facilitate the users requested for an item (simple-to-follow format and unique algorithm). Simply ‘pay’ for new clothes by giving away your old ones!
This might well be another refreshing startup to enter the market (launch date late September), Darpdecade cleverly claims to be a ‘Tinder for closets’ and uses technology to simplify lives and empower its users, through a platform where fashion lovers swap and share clothes locally. Users will be able to discover who likes a clothing item in a virtual closet and the app connects two people if they are equally interested in items in each other’s closets. It is a new way of locating clothes and conveniently exchanging them with those who share your taste.
Swapping, renting and sharing are the key words of an emerging economic reality: the sharing economy, full of excitement and helping to save the planet by reducing consumption while fulfilling consumer desires. The eco-fashion lover’s dream of having a never – ending closet packed with stylish outfits whilst being kind to the earth seems to be coming true at last.