By: Chloe Li
Photos by: Regina Xu
We’ve all been there: you have a big event coming up but feel like you have nothing to wear. After assessing your own closet, you instinctually turn to your roommate and ask if you can borrow something from hers. Now imagine if you had thousands of roommates’ closets you could raid. Insert Dressmate, a closet-sharing startup that allows college students to rent and borrow clothing. This innovative app aims to solve frustrations over finding professional or formal clothing while also creating an active, social community on campus. By simply creating an account on dressmate.com, you can have access to the closets of your ultra-trendy peers. Sound too good to be true? Well get this: Dressmate will be re-launching at Georgetown soon with fresh and exciting new pieces–just in time for this fall’s upcoming events! I sat down with founder Jennifer Simons (COL ‘18) to learn more about her experience and the future of Dressmate. Keep reading to learn more about Dressmate and its exciting career opportunities!
Chloe: Tell us a little bit about yourself! What’s your style like?
Jennifer: I just graduated from the College! I majored in Theology and minored in Math. I was actually on the pre-med path for two years before I decided to drop it to pursue Dressmate. Style-wise, comfort is the most import element for me. My mom was a fashion designer, and her style influenced me a lot. Currently, I’m into items with solid colors, mixed in with funky pieces. Sustainability is pretty important to me so I also primarily shop second-hand.
C: Cool, tell me more about how and where you thrift!
J: In NYC, I frequently shop at stores such as The Break and Beacon’s Closet. Online, Thredup is a great website to sell your used clothes. A lot of thrifting has been moving online, and there are many more ways to thrift than there were before.
C: Where did you find the inspiration for Dressmate?
J: I first thought of this app together with my roommate while procrastinating for finals at the end of my sophomore year. She posited,“What if you had a social media for clothing?” We actually dismissed this idea at first, but then realized its potential.
C: What was the development process like? What difficulties did you face?
J: I really focused on the social aspect of closet sharing. I was thinking about apps such as Poshmark and how we could format that for college campuses. I designed all of the web pages that you see on the platform. I knew that there needed to be filters like price, size, and color, and features like a calendar for each article of clothing to request rentals. I had to go through three development teams to create the platform that you see now for Dressmate. As for other difficulties, there’s a huge learning curve for creating a startup. This was new to me because I wasn’t in the MSB and I’ve never taken a business class. I’ve probably created 100 pitch decks.
C: Dressmate brings a whole new way to borrow and rent clothing on campuses. What’s the social aspect of the app like?
J: The social aspect is one of Dressmate’s main focuses. Closet-sharing is a more “human” way to shop for clothes and a natural way to make new friends. It’s a great way to meet people on campus. Dressmate is working on developing a messaging service on the website that will allow lender/borrowers to connect with more ease. The app will feature social network profiles such as Facebook and Instagram as will as NetIDs so it will be very easy for users to connect with each other. Similarly, we are also working to put in a map feature, so you can see which dorm the users live in for more convenience.
C: What’s the future like for Dressmate?
J: I definitely want to expand the social aspect of Dressmate. In the future, I’m hoping to offer Dressmate on a city-wide level. The goal is to allow you to shop from thousands of closets at once – all from people in your community. Instead of shopping from shops offering one brand, you’ll be able to shop from closets, which are curated with care by their owners. So if you are a fan of someone else’s style, you can shop directly from their closet. It’s curating your closet and and putting it on social media to allow others access to it.
C: Is Dressmate is currently hiring?
J: We are! We are currently being incubated by Monarq , so there should be a lot of progress in store for the next several months. We are looking for interns as well as brand reps, so head over to our careers page for more detail if you’re interested!
Dressmate brings a revolutionary community aspect to renting clothes. The social and sustainable aspects of Dressmate make it an app great for both users and the earth. On the website, the interface is simple yet incredibly functional. After creating an account, you can either look through others’ closets on campus, add clothing to your own closet for others to borrow, or do both! Already, there are a good number of clothes available for rent. Adding clothing to your own closet is quick and easy: just add and picture and a description and you’re good to go. Lastly, one of the best reasons to join Dressmate: Jennifer’s own closet is up for rent! If you’re a fan of her outfit in this article (who wouldn’t be?), it’s now available on the website!