DURDRESS: The New Sustainable Project on Campus

There’s a new sustainable initiative about in Durham, DURDRESS, which is encouraging more sustainable consumer habits, with their peer-to-peer dress rental platform. Head of DUCFS PR and Marketing Sasha Reviakin speaks to the community founder, Abby Yap, to get a better picture of what it’s all about.

Hi Abby, thanks for speaking with us. So, you’ve just set up this new community, DURDRESS? Could you tell us a bit more about what it actually is?

Of course! So DURDRESS Community is an anonymous peer to peer dress rental platform currently operating on Facebook! You can rent out those one-off ballgowns that you bought for your winter balls/special formals, rather than let them gather dust in your wardrobe and make some money in the process. You can also rent a dress out for yourself as an alternative to buying yet another dress that will never be used again. Its exclusively for Durham Students, so you can exchange the dresses super easily around the university site.

What inspired you to establish this community and why do you think initiatives like this are important?

Literally, personal grievance. I never had enough nice dresses to wear for the huge multitude of formals and balls that Durham has to offer and to keep buying new ones does not have a great effect on your bank account, or the environment. I would always end up borrowing my friend’s dresses, but there’s only so many times you can do this! DURDRESS  hopes to expand your connections beyond close knit friendship groups. I wrote an anonymous ‘Durfess’ in the early summer explaining my frustration. It actually got a lot of yield so I said to myself ‘why not set up something to combat this?’. Since starting it, I’ve had loads of people interested and willing to help out, which has been fantastic and so supportive!

I think DURDRESS is an important initiative to the Durham community because it combats the extreme waste of the fast fashion industry. Shockingly, this industry uses thousands of gallons of water to manufacture just one Cotton T-Shirt. However, the average person buys around 60% more clothing since 2002 and keeps them for half as long, and clothes made from polyester for instance can take up to 200 years to break down. So this initiative is a super simple way to avoid handing over money to this damaging industry.

So how does it work?

If you are interested in a dress, you message the admin page with the number of the dress that takes your fancy, we then put you in touch with the owner of the dress.

To upload a dress, you send a picture of the dress to admin, with its size, rent price and an optional deposit. We then post your dress on the page in due course!

As a side note, many women (and men) have issues with their body image and their size. To combat this, the dresses are anonymously displayed on the group as ‘numbers’ until a potential renter shows an interest.

What are the benefits of using this service?

The benefits of this service are plentiful. You stress less about money, due to the easy opportunities to earn and save via the platform.  You can also become actively involved in an eco-friendly movement, as DURDRESS provides a sustainable alternative to the fast fashion industry, which, as we know from the DUCFS campaign, has a strikingly damaging impact on the environment.

Yes, initiatives like yours are great to show people that they can change something small and have a bigger impact. But how do you make sure the dresses are kept safe? We all know how messy some balls can get.

We encourage people who send their dresses in to set a deposit, so that if the dress is returned to you damaged or broken, you will have the right amount of money to either buy a new dress or clean it. It’s up to the users to decide this amount as well as to organize whether the renter has to wash the dress before they return it.  We also recommend that you use your initiative, and stay safe during exchanges – whether that be taking a friend with you to exchange money or meeting up in public Durham spaces.

Another question- what does the DURDRESS team get out of the initiative?

That’s another thing that great about the community – it’s totally free. We don’t take a cut, we are literally just a platform to connect renters and letters. So why not?

What are your plans for the future with DURDRESS?

First it needs to grow! We currently have almost 600 members on the group, but we need more, so please join!! Once we have established a higher number we aim to start an Instagram and Twitter campaign to complement our initiative.

What other things to do you think people can do to me more sustainable at university?

Buy a ticket for the Durham University Charity Fashion Show! It promises to be such a good night and you will be supporting such a fantastic and relevant cause.

That’s very kind! Thanks for coming in and explaining the project.

Thank you for having me!

Make sure you join the group by clicking on the link below (DURDRESS COMMUNITY)

You can also like us on Facebook: Durdress Admin.


DUCFS 2019 is sponsored by Cobra

Sasha Reviakin