Refashioner & Resale

Refashioner was the first online redistribution engine, and now it's the first again: The first resale site not trying to profit from your clothes. Here's how I went from doing it all "properly" to the opposite: a labor of love. It's all been very interesting. 


I invented Refashioner in February 2009, and launched a year later. Or rather, the build was six months late, so we got amazing press, eg...


New York Times Style Magazine Refashioner launch story, Feb 2010

and all we had was a splash page... Original swap version 1.0 Refashioner splash page, 2010

Then when we launched in July, the site immediately crashed: too many transactions! Dumbly, I have no screenshots, just the home page >


Original swap version 1.0 Refashioner landing page, 2010

And the general vibe (illustrations by the great Peter Arkle) >


Original refashioner mission curated swapping for fashion bitchesOriginal refashioner mission Sample Sale Mistake come out of the closetOriginal refashioner mission Screw Ebay we have fashion police


We hired a developer to build v.2.0. This is not how it's done. You need your own CTO. The new home page looked something like this >



Refashioner 2.0 home page fall winter 2012



Before we even (re)launched, we won Project PopUp, Bloomberg's competition for NYC Fashion-Tech. That's me grinning at the mayor>    

Project Popup winners Kate Sekules grins idiotically at Mayor Bloomberg


It was a lovely site. Every garment had a story >



Refashioner V2.0 garment page

Refashioner V2.0 shopping page



We had thousands of members. They stalked each other--literally. That's what we called it when they linked closets >


Refashioner V2.0 member closet



Some were quite well known >


Refashioner V2.0 Courtney Love closet


Tons of gorgeous things flowed through. Always with stories>

Refashioner V2.0 typical garment details


And occasional insanity (we suggested a reduction. Didn't hear back)>

Refashioner V2.0 ridiculous versace jacket page



We had a Manifesto >

Refashioner V2.0 Manifesto




Unfortunately, the site was prone to breaking >


I knew we needed our own CTO, but now I fully understood why. We were locked out of our own site: a very common situation. Be warned!


And that was when the crazy rush to market happened. Like this >


Refashioner 2013 pitch deck slide: The Rise of RecommerceRefashioner 2013 pitch deck slide: the Mall of Owned Clothes


Those are slides from my 2013 pitch deck. We're told Venture Capital investment equals success. But once you take their money it's: profit or die. I thought about what that meant. I saw how they viewed it, purely as a numbers game, and also how these numbers do not add up. (Indeed, several of the above have closed down.) I felt like a failure. But also not. What drove me was not this >



Refashioner 2013 pitch deck slide: unrealized value in US closets




What drove me was --still is-- a dream of a giant shared closet. Having fun and creating shopping magic, not buying into the luxury marketing insanity, the planet-and-people destroying "fast fashion" trade. 


So I just stepped away, became a B-Corp, threw up a placeholder site>

Refashioner V2.1 landing page


...And built this one (rather slowly) myself. Now it really is personal fashion. 


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