“It takes 50 wears for a dress to make up its carbon footprint, so if someone else can make up some of those wears, then that would be great.”
It’s safe to say that many of us are trying to take a more sustainable approach to dressing ourselves, and clothes-swapping has proven to be an appealing alternative to fast fashion for many.
However, it can be tricky to know where to get started, or to find people to swap with locally. Thankfully, one Irish entrepreneur has set up a secondhand and sustainable fashion sharing platform that is peer-to-peer and free to join.
Founded by Irish entrepreneur Laura White, byBorrow allows users to upload items they wish to lend or sell, receive rental and sale requests, chat with potential buyers or lenders, send the item through tracked post and receive payment.
The idea for byBorrow started when Laura come to terms with her own use of fast fashion.
“About three years ago, I stopped buying fast fashion altogether,” she tells Her. “I was a complete shopaholic before then. I used to buy something new every time I’d go out.
“But then it hit me. I’m spending so much money and these clothes are going nowhere. So I made a pledge to stop buying fast fashion and created an Instagram account called No New Clothes. It kind of got legs and gained traction and a bit of interest, and then I started getting donations of clothes from friends and family.”
Laura soon put a call-out for donations to raise money for charity, as many charity shops had to close their doors due to Covid-19. The single call-out garnered 60 bags of clothes, many of which were brand new.
“I thought, ‘This is scary’. So I started looking into it a little more, about how we can share our wardrobe, and at the same time I was getting more knowledge on the dangers of fast fashion, so I really wanted to make a positive change.”
And so, byBorrow was born.
“I wanted to it to be a facilitator for borrowing and lending, and to empower women to be more sustainable, and not be judgmental on how they shop,” Laura explains.
Size and style inclusivity remains at the centre of byBorrow’s mission.
“It’s important to make sure that the pieces are diverse and inclusive,” she says. “I don’t have the stock myself, so I’m not dictating the types of styles and sizes on the platform, the users do that. I think if I did have the stock, it would be a lot harder to be as inclusive. The wider the community and the more diverse the community is, then the more inclusive the platform can be.”
To this end, Laura’s hope is for byBorrow to continue to grow.
“The day-to-day is getting as many people signed up as possible. We have this Start with Three campaign. The idea is not to overthink it, just upload three items at a time and see how it goes.”
Laura also recognises that a little change can make a big difference, and she hopes to change people’s mindset when it comes to shopping.
“It takes 50 wears for a dress to make up its carbon footprint, so if someone else can make up some of those 50 wears, then that would be great.”
You can learn more about byBorrow right here.