Style Lend dresses up the sharing economy

LAUNCHPAD: Former model Lona Duncan wants to monetise the dresses you're bored with wearing and save you buying ones you don't need. It's not cheap though.

by Rachel Savage

From cars to the spaces they’re parked in and spare rooms, start-ups are getting us to share what we don’t need and make some money while we’re at it. Now Style Lend is hoping to get women lending their dresses (sorry men, this ain’t for you – Suit Lend anyone?).

Former model Lona Duncan came up with the idea of a peer-to-peer high-end clothes sharing site when travelling in Paris around 18 months ago and thought it would be pretty cool to quite literally borrow Parisienne style, she told Business Insider. While dress hire sites such as Girl Meets Dress are nothing new, this is the first attempt at tapping into wardrobe envy syndrome.

For those worried about strangers spilling red wine on their cream cocktail dress, Style Lend is designed to reassure, promising to use a $5 (£3) insurance fee to cover small stains and damages or replace clothes that are wrecked completely.

A lender can choose to do the meeting, greeting and cleaning themselves for 70% of the rental fee or forsake half for the ‘concierge’ option. The site is only in San Francisco at the moment (duh), where it is in the current batch of companies incubating at Y Combinator, but is hoping to launch in New York in the next couple of months.

The service isn’t for your bog standard Primark(ni) attire though. Dresses on the site have to have a minimum retail value of $150, while the ‘high end designer’ dresses sell for an eyewatering average of $2,155 and are rented for around $120 per week.

Lesser mortals and Brits may have to wait a while, then, before we can rent ‘n’ raid other people’s wardrobes. In the meantime, why not rent out a room on Airbnb, which is reportedly close to securing funding that would value it at a ridiculously high $10bn. Better watch out for the ‘sex freak’ parties though…
- Read MT’s feature on the sharing economy

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