Today I bring you a reduced waste option in an industry that is notoriously known for being a huge world polluter. I wrote about my struggles with fast fashion a few years back. Today I’m delighted to feature a zero-waste champion that is doing something about it! Without further ado, here’s an interview with Montana Marshall, the CEO and founder, of The DressChange.
What inspired you to start The Dress Change?
Having worked from such a young age, I know that every penny counts for everyone from students to busy mums and those on a low income. I also know that fashion is one of those things where reason can sometimes go out of the window (trust me I’ve been there!) Women can sometimes end up making rash purchases of items they don’t need, want or will never even wear. At The Dress Change we care about women and the world in which we live in. We genuinely believe fashion should be afforded to everyone, and we aim to provide this in a very unique and sustainable way.
Our customers are women just like us. In fact, the idea for The Dress Change came about in late 2017. I hosted a weekly girl’s night at my house where we would usually cook/order take out, have a few cocktails and catch up on everyone’s world, talking well into the night. On one particular girl’s night, we decided to go out for drinks to a new bar in the area. All of a sudden, and before we were due to leave, no one liked what they were wearing. They all started rifling through my wardrobe for items to wear and swapping pieces between each other until everyone was happy and suitably dressed for our impromptu night. I watched this all taking place, and the idea for The Dress Change was born.
How exactly does it work?
It’s so simple. All you need to do is create an account, upload a brief description and some good quality photos of your items and then post. You can then bid on other items available to exchange. Once the other member has accepted your bid, all you need to do is send your item to the address provided and wait to receive yours. Not only is it easy, but you can basically get a whole new outfit every month for under a tenner.
How do you think it’s helping to reduce the waste that the fashion industry produces?
10 years ago most well known brands used to do a maximum of five collections per year, fast forward to 2019, it is now the norm for these brands to create 23 collections per year! We live in a throwaway culture of fast fashion, where there is always something new to entice you to spend your precious money on. Our goal is to encourage people to follow their own fashion desires and go for what they love, rather than what the big brands tell them that they need. We aim to save items from going to landfill by providing a platform where people can upload the items they no longer want, and exchange them for items they love; therefore reducing waste and saving money for our customers.
What have been the biggest challenges of creating a service that is so unique?
The transition from buying and selling, to swapping and using clothes as a currency is relatively new to the mass market. Also moving from offline swapping at swap parties/events to having an online platform is also pretty revolutionary, but it’s working. Our customers are happy to share their positive experiences with others, spreading the word to encourage others to join this new movement, and as a result, we are growing in the UK.
Have you seen this service already have a positive impact? If so, what?
Everyone who hears about The Dress Change believes it’s a fabulous, much needed business in the current climate. We have seen multiple exchanges on the platform and users have actively encouraged others to do the same and start their journey to be more sustainable with their fashion choices (not to mention saving some money in the process). Fashion doesn’t have to equal new and we’re really trying to spread that positive message to as many people as possible.
What is your biggest advice for someone looking to reduce waste in their life?
- Shop in your own wardrobe. Really go through each item before you buy something new and consider how you can make the best use of it.
- Only buy items you truly love and that are of high quality, where the materials are sourced ethically and are environment friendly, and ideally items that you can wear time and time again. Rewearing items should never be frowned upon and rather should be celebrated.
- Swap online, borrow items from friends and family or rent for those special occasions. We have lots of ‘worn once’ items for a wedding or a christening. Let’s be smarter about those one wear occasions and make the most of our clothing.