Would you rent your favorite bag for cash?
There is a moment in Sex and the city when Carrie Bradshaw realizes she has $ 40,000 worth of shoes in her closet and no real savings account. “I’ll literally be the old lady who lived in her shoes,” she laments, gazing at the wreckage of beauty and trash. Violet Gross remembers similar awakenings – and subsequent panic attacks – from many of her friends, and even her own life.
“I know many of us have had times, even before the pandemic, where we would look at our clothes and think, ‘I just don’t need that much in my closet anymore,’ says Gross, the founder of the. peer-to-peer fashion rental platform Tulerie. “How could I have spent this money better than on clothes?” Could I have taken a vacation, even bought a bigger apartment? And what’s the point of all this “stuff” if it’s just sitting here? ”
Like any fashion fan with a WiFi connection, Gross knew all about resale platforms, and sometimes used them herself. But the resale ignored the designer pieces that Gross really loved, but didn’t wear them that often, although she still wanted to keep them. Meanwhile, companies that rented clothes from an anonymous warehouse were cleaning up: Rent the Runway, with its millions of cocktail dress options, and partnerships with hotels and designers. Nuuly, which allows members to cosplay Penny Lane in 70s flares and antique lace tops. But Gross wanted Tulerie – a relative newbie to the rental game – to ignore offers from a giant corporate closet, instead of borrowing and lending coins from cool women around the world, and making the both money and relationships by doing it.
“For the first part of my career, I worked in the luxury auto industry,” says Gross, who looked after books for Bentley to pay for business school at Northwestern. “I had two main things to deal with. The first was that I was often the only woman in a room full of macho men… I learned to defend myself; I learned to work with my guts and to prepare fully. The second problem I had to deal with was an industrial problem: people were flipping their cars the same way people flipping their wardrobes… They wanted the latest, the fastest, and they would be very up to date with every new thing. . came out… At the same time, luxury consumers were talking about switching to electric or hybrid vehicles, because they knew it was better for the planet and it was cool, and they wanted to make the switch early. We had to figure out how to lean on this… And I realized, ‘Wait, I’m borrowing this super amazing Chanel jacket from someone, and taking it for a ride like someone would take a really amazing car for a ride. twirl. And by sharing it there is a lot less waste, but there is still that ultimate feeling of luxury. ‘”
Gross knew that the thought of renting in someone else’s closet could be… well… disgusting. “There is a fear in sharing clothes that I find really interesting, because dry cleaning exists! she exclaims. “When you go to a luxury hotel, do you bring your own sheets? Or are you going to sleep in a bed that other people have slept in, but then have washed the sheets? ” In reality, The Wall Street Journal compared Tulerie’s model to Airbnb, not least because of its house-or-Hermès parallels. But Gross went beyond the travel agency, or any company, really. Along with rigorous clean-up protocols, she needs a personal FaceTime meeting with lenders and potential borrowers to make sure the process is completely transparent, and feels more like a style enthusiast group chat than a costly and faceless exchange encounter. Does this sound like a first date I wonder?
“Yeah, it’s a little awkward at first, but it’s so much fun,” Gross says. “We heard about all these vacations people had… Someone was going to Venice for Alta Moda and needed a dress. Someone was going to Paris and wanted to look amazing. People are asking questions on the site about what to wear for certain events. We really created a network of fashion friends. She notes that the most requested pieces are a Simone Rocha mesh skirt, several Zimmermann dresses and, of course, the all-important Chanel bags that never go out of style.
“We are talking about the world of circular fashion, and sharing is a natural part of that,” adds Gross. “We’re also trying to make our voices heard on using greener dry cleaners – you have to look, but they are there! – and the importance of taking care of your parts to begin with. You know, we’ve all been taught to think about “investment bags” and “investment coats”, but I’ll tell you my most useful investment: cedar blocks. You toss them in your closet, moths won’t touch your clothes, and your favorite outfits last so much longer.
Gross recently returned from Paris Fashion Week – “I go as a fan and client of some of the designers,” she says – and mentions how circularity has exploded at Louis Vuitton, where members of the global advocacy group. Extinction Rights Rebellion crashed onto the podium with placards denouncing mass consumption and waste. “I was thinking [the activist] had a point on overconsumption and on the fact that overproduction is what will kill the planet, ”she explains. “But I also know that women would watch a lot of catwalks – this Louis Vuitton show for sure – looking for things they want to have for a long time, and not just for a season… Something parading on a catwalk cannot not be the reason to buy something. There must be a real purpose behind the purchase.
And when you can’t bring yourself to crush the “buy” button on a new bag or trendy dress? “Borrow it!” Fat said. “Borrow it or share it. After all, sharing is caring … and Gross’s arsenal of designer pieces is very easy to care for.
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