We’ve all been there – exclaiming “I have nothing to wear!” at an overflowing wardrobe. I for one am often guilty of this, regularly struggling to find the perfect outfit, despite my crammed wardrobe and jam-packed drawers.
It was this common scenario that prompted Bianca Rangecroft to found Whering, an app that digitises your own wardrobe. With the apt motto of “less stressed, better dressed” the concept is simple, yet genius. Whering works to help you rediscover your wardrobe by allowing you to catalogue and browse your belongings, giving you a fresh reminder of the bags, shoes, or dresses that you forgot you bought years ago.
The premise is simple: take pictures of your clothes and upload them into the Whering app and the team will get to work on cropping and tagging your images. You can then style unlimited outfits – to help you make the most of your pieces - track your wardrobe usage, and also get inspiration from other users.
We caught up with Rangecroft to find how her app can help users to dress better and be more sustainable with their wardrobe.
How did you come up with the concept of Whering?
"Whering is a digital wardrobe and personal stylist; the wardrobe from Clueless, but in the palm of your hand. Our mission is to extend the lifecycle of clothes by taking our wardrobes digital and getting us to fall back in love with what we already have. With us you can see everything you own in one place, plus receive daily styling suggestions and curated product recommendations to complement your existing wardrobe.
“I founded Whering in June last year to fundamentally change the way we interact with our clothes and to upend the throwaway culture. For me, the system was broken; the vicious cycle of not being able to see what you own, impulse buying, and the lack of inspiration in the styling process meant only one thing – we had to take it digital and hyper-personalise our fashion experience."
What do you think your service changes about the industry?
"The ‘I have nothing to wear’ dilemma feels universal. Part of the problem isn’t having nothing to wear, but having nothing new to wear. We keep buying because we think that just one more item will unlock our ideal wardrobe – this is why having a digital inventory is so key. Not only does it allow you to ‘shop your own wardrobe’ to get that newness fix, but having an organised digital wardrobe helps you identify what you really need and which pieces can unlock combinations you had no idea existed.
"You can also easily track your wears and most-worn items, or decide what’s worth donating or selling, but most importantly, create different versions of your best looks from the comfort of your sofa."
Do you think we need to embrace tech more when it comes to our wardrobes?
"Efficiently reusing the pieces of clothing we already own is one of the easiest solutions to one of the most intricate problems: our wardrobe's carbon footprint. Everything we do to step away from the more archaic ‘buy, shop, dispose’ model is a step in the right direction – and tech can definitely facilitate that journey.
"Firstly, the ability to see what you own, track your wears and understand your fashion impact metrics is a game changer to a more conscious mentality. Secondly, understanding where and when to sell items (check out these resale sites), monetising your wardrobe (via these rental platforms) and using sizing technology to buy smart and reduce your returns will boost what you get out of your fashion experience."
Do you think our attitudes towards fashion and style will change post-pandemic?
"During the pandemic, the slow and more intentional pace of living meant that people turned inwards, and that introspective time has enabled us to re-examine our lives and what we buy. It’s given us all the ability to declutter, rethink a lot of our behaviours and want to make the most of our wardrobes. A big part of that is unleashing our creativity and buying smarter – which I think will carry forward once things normalise.
"Since April, we’ve seen overwhelming demand for outfit inspiration, a 50 per cent increase in our community’s #ofwears (documenting the number of times they've worn a particular piece) and a growing demand among our Wherers – particularly Gen Z – for sustainable shopping options, so I’m optimistic that these trends are here to stay in a post-pandemic world."
How does your app help people be more sustainable with their wardrobes?
"We’re looking to help our Wherers drastically reduce their carbon and water footprint by focusing on the two parts of the value chain that they control: purchasing and utilisation. By allowing our users to digitise their wardrobe, they are able to track their wears, fall back in love with their pieces, and become true outfit repeaters. We’re using machine learning to offer tailored styling suggestions that enable you to view your wardrobe entirely differently, receive outfits ideas you’d never have thought of and get that jolt of novelty not dissimilar from buying something new.
"The possibilities are also endless for making better spending decisions – try digitally before you buy – and being more creative with how we use our pieces and put together our outfits. Whering empowers us to differentiate between buying for trends versus putting outfits together that actually work in the long-term – saving us money and allowing us to be more intentional with our closets – but also personalises our shopping experience by showing us sustainable pieces that unlock new outfits."
What else can consumers do to be more eco-conscious with their wardrobes?
"The best-kept secret of a green wardrobe: aim for #30wears (at least) for everything that you buy, shop smarter and less, invest in quality, care for your clothes (try a Guppy bag for the washing process, steam wherever possible instead of washing, invest in good storage solutions) and do your best to extend the lifecycle of your pieces. You can do this easily through reselling, renting, swapping with friends, ethically donating or upcycling, or repurposing items you no longer use."
What’s next for Whering?
"The next big thing on our agenda is taking the app social. This would allow our Wherers to open up their wardrobes to their friends, strategise on what the ‘collective’ will be wearing on their next outing, share outfits when they travel, and swap things they no longer want. For us, creating a space where our users can engage, comment and purchase others’ items is key to a truly experiential product.
"We’re also creating an impact dashboard for our Wherers, to empower them to understand the impact of purchasing decisions and the beauty of offsetting certain behaviours with more conscious ones. We're also on-boarding a network of green dry-cleaners, donation points and repurposing services across the UK to make repurposing, mending and donating a little more intuitive."
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