With Boro, You Can Rent Fancy Clothes From Strangers

©. Boro

This Toronto-based company brings the sharing economy to fashion.

Have you ever been invited to a fancy event and had nothing to wear? Perhaps you raced out to a store and bought a dress that cost a small fortune, looked fabulous for a night, but ended up neglected in the closet. Unfortunately, this happens all too often for many women who feel they cannot wear the same outfit to multiple events. Not only is it expensive, but it’s wasteful, too.

A new Toronto startup hopes to change this. Embracing the philosophy of the sharing economy, Boro has created an online store where women can rent high-end dresses, bags, and jackets for up to 10 days at reasonable prices (starting at $30), and lenders can make money off the beautiful items they’ve purchased – to be precise, 50 percent of the net revenue from each rental. From Boro’s website:

“Lending allows you to retain ownership of your item, so you have the option of wearing it again or doing what you want with it in the future. Plus, by lending out your items on Boro, you can earn more than you would through selling it. Gaining extra closet space is also a big plus.”

Environmental preservation is another reason cited on the website. As I’ve written many times on TreeHugger, fashion consumes resources and generates pollution at a rate that’s second on Earth only to the oil industry. While Boro’s pieces can hardly be categorized as ‘fast fashion’ – too expensive and well-made – they are still highly specialized, stylized garments that do not typically get the wear they should for the resources required to make them. Sharing with others is a good way to counteract this.

Boro stands out from other fashion rental companies because it crowd-sources all of its clothing, rather than purchasing a collection to rent out. Lenders must submit their items for review and Boro accepts 60 to 70 percent of submissions. This helps to “maintain a certain standard,” co-founder Chris Cundari told BlogTO.

Boro keeps the loaned clothes in a central location and is responsible for maintenance and dry-cleaning in order to guarantee a quick, efficient rental process. The company delivers dresses across the Greater Toronto Area.

Cundari and co-founder Natalie Festa, who launched Boro on March 30, hope that it will redefine fashion:

“Access has become the new ownership – Uber for cars, Airbnb for housing, Netflix for movies, and Boro for wardrobes... We believe that quality should always be chosen over quantity, and what you wear should leave you looking killer without killing the planet. We believe that you should rent the outfit, and own the moment.”