Ever dreamed of buying that special edition bag straight off the runway, but weren’t sure you would use it enough (especially at that price)? Or have you ever wanted to add that special touch to an outfit, but – living the minimalist lifestyle – didn’t want to buy yet another bag? Then Share That Wear was created just for you.
At CASA AFUERA, our love for design & sustainability drew us to this app immediately. As (getting there) minimalists, we’ve learned that quality comes before quantity, and that when it comes to fashion accessories, less can definitely be more. Driven away from fast fashion by the overwhelming quantities and disastrous effects on our planet, we’ve learned to think before we buy. Now, Share That Wear is giving us the opportunity to enjoy an incredible array of different items, guilt-free. Not only can we borrow instead of buy, but we now have access to all kinds of luxury items, from sold-out limited edition pieces to high-end fashion that is – let’s face it – otherwise out of our budget.
Inspired by the conscious aspect of the app and the rapidly growing selection of items, we interviewed the founder, CEO Alissa Mühlethaler to find out more about her, the app’s beginnings and her plans for the future!
Hi Alissa! Tell us a little bit about yourself and about the new app you’re launching.
Hi! I’m the founder of Share That Wear (STW) – a fashion rental platform for men and women. Through our platform, everyone has the opportunity to lend their high-end and designer pieces to others and also to rent from others. Lenders can easily monetize their closet and renters get access to an unlimited closet without buying a single piece. STW is the result of relentless work for the past two years now, and I could not be more ecstatic to finally launch the first fashion rental app in Switzerland. The idea & everything STW stands for has been my identity for such a long time now and I am super excited to not only share my closet with people but also everything STW stands for. If I’m not working you’ll find me somewhere in the woods with my two dogs or riding horses.
“Lenders can easily monetize their closet and renters get access to an unlimited closet without buying a single piece. (…) STW is the result of relentless work for the past two years now, and I could not be more ecstatic to finally launch the first fashion rental app in Switzerland.“
What inspired you to create Share That Wear?
I’ve always needed a sense of freedom, being able to pack my belongings at any day and being able to leave for a semester abroad or other adventures. Therefore I wanted my whole closet to only fit into one piece of luggage. Being limited in your wardrobe sometimes puts you to the challenge. Buying new items all the time, to only be wearing them once or twice, just did not seem sustainable… especially for my bank account, as I have a passion for designer brands. Also avoiding fast fashion has always been super important to me.
Luckily my best friends were always there to help out. So why not expand the concept of your best friend helping you out? I guess you could say STW is inspired by my friends and that’s exactly what we want STW to be: your best friend, helping you out with the „nothing to wear“ dilemma and not having to spend crazy amounts on your fave pieces.
Almost two years ago a professor at university gave the advice that if we had an idea, we shouldn’t be wasting any time sitting in a class room but rather go out and learn first hand from experiences and make the idea come to life. I got up, left, never went back and have been working on Share That Wear ever since.
Fast forward to today, almost everything in my closet will be up for rent and I am not leaving any time soon. Because with STW I’m on my biggest adventure yet…
“Almost two years ago a professor at university gave the advice that if we had an idea, we shouldn’t be wasting any time sitting in a class room but rather go out and learn first hand from experiences and make the idea come to life. I got up, left, never went back and have been working on Share That Wear ever since.”
What is your target audience for the app and what do you think they will love most about it?
We’re not here to define our community or tell them what to love about our platform. Sure, we try to provide the best service possible and make sure everything runs smoothly but the benefits they get from using our platform is theirs and not to be defined through us. One user is as much of a sucker for fashion as I am, another one likes the idea of being able to consume fashion in a more sustainable way and another likes being part of a community. I love that there are so many reasons to like the concept of sharing fashion and bringing people together.
When it comes to the app itself, I’d say it’s pretty cool that users get to have their own kind of „store“ within the app. This gives everyone the possibility to let their uniqueness shine through and we’re here for all the uniqueness out there.
“One user is as much of a sucker for fashion as I am, another one likes the idea of being able to consume fashion in a more sustainable way and another likes being part of a community.“
How do you establish and ensure trust in the ShareThatWear app for users, both for those offering and those renting luxury goods?
Besides quality, safety and trust are the most important aspects of our platform. The process starts with every user being verified with their address and ID. Every listing that is uploaded to our platform is reviewed. This is also a precaution we take against counterfeit and fake items. We require all our users to rate their renter/lender every single time a transaction is complete. Some of us know this dual rating system from AirBnB or other platforms. We personally read through every review and get involved as soon as we see abnormalities. Only a couple of bad ratings will lead to deactivation of the account and the user being banned from the platform.
Trust and safety would mean nothing without our incredible Insurance Partner, Basler Versicherung. Accidents happen and we want both parties to feel as protected as possible and not have to worry about the consequences of giving away their items or lending something from a stranger. Basler has put together the perfect solution for our users.
What role does Share That Wear play in the conscious luxury trend that is driving us away from fast fashion?
In theory, the approach against fast fashion is self-explanatory: „quality over quantity“. Sounds simple, right? Yet, there need to be leaders, turning theory into reality. With issues about the climate crisis rising, people are rightfully more aware of the detrimental impact that the fashion economy (and the fast fashion sector especially) is having on our planet. Individuals start looking for alternatives to fast fashion. It’s our mission to challenge our communities’ perception about fashion and maybe even ownership. Providing a fashion rental platform and a community, is our way of being a leader. It’s our aim to play a part in a transformation of the fashion landscape whilst paving a way to a more mindful way to consume fashion.
“It’s our aim to play a part in a transformation of the fashion landscape whilst paving a way to a more mindful way to consume fashion.“
What effect do you think apps like Share That Wear will have on the luxury industry?
Platforms like ours will play a part in disrupting the fashion economy in one way or the other – and one rental at a time. In this case i am expecting the fast fashion market to be much more effected than the luxury industry. The luxury industry in fashion has been hesitant to put financial resources towards more sustainable directions. STW and others becoming a success would hopefully make them rethink the direction they’re headed at one point.
What’s important to understand here, it’s not fashion platforms vs. luxury retailers. It’s more like both parties working together towards a goal of making luxury fashion more sustainable and therefore even more desirable. How cool would it be if one of the biggest brands out there brought a rental collection to market? Your fave designer pieces in a monthly subscription? I know I’m here for it.
“How cool would it be if one of the biggest brands out there brought a rental collection to market? Your fave designer pieces in a monthly subscription? I know I’m here for it.“
So are we! How do you see the app evolving in the next few years? Do you have any special additional features planned that you can give us a sneak peak of?
The most important thing is to always provide quality. As a start up you have to compromise way more than anticipated, putting many of your countless ideas on hold, at least for a while. Personally, this has been one of the most challenging parts. I just want the app to provide everything our users wish for – and more. When we do add a new feature, we always make sure the technical functionalities behind it hold up to our standards and guarantee a great experience. You could say quality over quantity is our credo in many aspects… Something special I’d like to point out, is us working relentlessly on the idea of providing packaging & boxes using ocean plastic. The idea of being able to provide our users with boxes for shipping and also giving back to our oceans, is something close to my heart.
For the future, I not only want the app to be the best version possible but also grow the brand Share That Wear. A fashion sharing community presents so many opportunities in different directions and we’re ready for our community to show where to go.
“Something special I’d like to point out, is us working relentlessly on the idea of providing packaging & boxes using ocean plastic. The idea of being able to provide our users with boxes for shipping and also giving back to our oceans, is something close to my heart.“
And one for the fashionistas: What designer item have you always dreamed of that you’re hoping someone will put up for rent on Share That Wear?
I strongly believe we all have that one piece, we can’t help but to have a sentimental connection to. Maybe it’s something seen in a movie, magazine or worn by an icon. No matter what the reason, I’m hoping for everyone to get access to the piece of their dreams through the STW community. Personally, I love a Birkin. It reminds me of my grandmother who used to take hers everywhere. A Birkin just never goes out of style, representing a timeless classiness.
And oh boy, did I fall in love with the Chanel Boy Bag – the moment it came down the runway. The edgy rockstar vibe about this piece, still gets me excited to this day. I will be the first to list mine and to rent all the different colors. Bring on the boys!
Thank you Alissa – it was wonderful to get to know you and your project. Conscious, stylish and fun – you and your app definitely have a lot in common! We can’t wait to experience the amazing success that we’re sure you and Share That Wear will have!
The Share That Wear app is now available for download on the App Store. Download it here.
In collaboration with Share That Wear. All in-line images courtesy of Alissa Mühlethaler.