It would be fair to say we live in a startup culture, right? We've all seen how little startups can blow up big (i.e., Angry Birds), and we all know that one passionate app-maker who's still waiting for her major break. When it comes to fashion, the most successful startups offer a new angle on shopping, browsing, donating, or thrifting. They don't just bring the mall experience online.
The latest fashion-themed apps and websites not only help you rejuvenate your tired old shopping habits, but they can do near-magical things like get you some serious tax deductions and help you show up at your arch-nemesis' holiday cocktail party wearing a (rented) Chopard necklace. Just watch...
What it does: This new app lets you take photos of clothing that you're thinking about buying, which you then send to a group of friends, who vote for or against the item using a cute thumbs up/thumbs down system. You can earn cash by voting, browsing, and sharing photos; participating retailers will also send you instant coupons.
Who it's for: The girl who can't make a single purchase without getting the go-ahead from all thirty of her closest friends.
Check it out: postelio.com
What it does: Oh, just lets you rent jewelry from brands like Chopard, Harry Winston, Chanel, Cartier, and Rolex. You give Haute Vault some background information, and their virtual credit department determines what level of rental you're eligible for (termed, appropriately, Sterling, Gold, Platinum and Diamond). For a piece that retails at $15,000-$20,000, you can expect to pay about $200-300 to rent; for a piece that retails at over $20,000, you'll rent for up to $2,000.
Who it's for: Non-millionaires who like to look like millionaires. Girls who have really important events coming up.
Check it out: hautevault.com
What it does: A new way of swapping clothes that's totally free (you only pay for shipping!). Unlike two-person swaps, which don't work if the parties aren't exactly interested in each other's wares, Swapdom uses an algorithm to organize multi-person swaps so that everyone gets exactly what they want. All you have to do is tell Swapdom what you like and which of your items you'd offer in exchange.
Who it's for: Budget- and eco-friendly fashionistas, those who like community, and people who don't have time to organize clothing swaps of their own.
Check it out: swapdom.com
What it does: A new way of shopping online in which the clothes are actually delivered to your home so you can try them on before you buy them. Stylists will add additional clothing and accessories to your order, the whole package gets shipped to your home, and you only pay for what you keep.
Who it's for: Ladies who are too busy for the mall, but hate the whole will-it-fit guessing game of online shopping.
Check it out: bungalowclothing.com
What it does: They've billed themselves as "designer retail reinvented," and that's exactly what they are. At Fashion Project, you donate your old designer clothes (they'll send a pre-paid donation package to your house) and select the charity to receive profits from the sale; once the item sells, you'll receive a tax receipt. This method means that Fashion Project gives about 100x as much to charities as the average donating thrift store. You can also shop for deeply discounted used designer clothes on the site, knowing that 55 percent of your purchase will be going directly to charity.
Who it's for: High-end fashionistas who want to shop right. Those with overflowing closets who want to make a difference and get a tax deduction to boot.
Check it out: fashionproject.com