As a clothes lover, I’ve often daydreamed about having an unlimited closet – a room endlessly full of new items to try on and piece together. However, due to the rapid development of digital technologies, this fantastical concept has the potential to become a reality. The Internet could allow friends to migrate their private wardrobes online into a collective closet that the entire group could enjoy. Not only would this be incredibly economically efficient, it would also be environmentally friendly and sustainable because so much less clothing would have to be purchased overall. For example, instead of 30 friends individually buying a black pencil skirt, only one or two skirts would have to be purchased for the collective closet.
While I simply fantasized about this concept, two women, Andrea Wetherald and Sara Longo, have begun to create this system. They are currently in the process of developing Share Closet, a web and mobile application that establishes a virtual collective closet. The way it works is that users take pictures of their clothing, shoes, and jewelry and upload them to the site. They then decide how much of their wardrobe each friend can see by placing friends into different circles, similar to the way connections function in Google Plus. The app also lets users specify if they would like their items dry-cleaned after they are borrowed, sends reminders to friends when items should be returned, and offers the option to sell clothing that users no longer want.
Wetherald and Longo’s project was motivated by two factors. The first was simply to make the process of sharing clothes between friends easier and more efficient. The second was that when Wetherald went on a trip to Botswana, she developed a deep appreciation for the country’s cultural emphasis on giving, sharing, and facilitating a more sustainable lifestyle, and she wanted to bring a piece of this culture back to America.
The concept of Share Closet accomplishes both of these goals, and I’m eager to see the completed website. Until then, clothes-lovers can still share items the old fashioned way, to be both stylish and sustainable.
Happy clothes sharing!
Written by Abigail Fagan, class of 2014
photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/perspicacious/3765746343/, image was altered