For those who may not be familiar with the Woman behind the brand StyleLend, Who is she, who is Lona?
Lona Alia is the Founder & CEO of Style Lend a fashion rental marketplace. For the past 5 years she has dedicated her time building and prototyping various fashion/tech startups in Silicon Valley. She founded StyleLend.com 3 years ago to help women around the world have access to the world’s most coveted closets and in the process promote sustainable fashion consumption.
Where is she from - If you ask Lona where she is from, she would probably answer "the world!" Born in Albania, Lona has spent the majority of her life living, working or studying in the US, Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paolo.
Hobbies - Traveling to remote undiscovered locations, Tasty organic farm to table type food, dressing up, skiing, socially stimulating experiences like burning man, summit, habitas, breakout, canvas, ted, world economic forum.
Now, tell us a bit about what Style Lend is and offers.
Style Lend is the new way millennial women are dressing for events. Instead of buying a new dress for $500 or $5000 to wear once they are now renting it for $50 or $500 instead, from other women on the platform.
10,000 women visit Style Lend on a monthly basis to rent fashion items but to also lend fashion from their closet. They submit items, we approve them and they ship to our warehouse where we process the items, photograph, list and store for free.
We then rent them out to customers on Style Lend and split the profit 50/50 with the lenders (owners of the items)
How was the idea for Style Lend born?
Style Lend was inspired by a deep need I had, to look beautiful, feel confident and not damage the planet through my fashion choices. I was torn between wanting to look good and the fact that fashion is the 2nd biggest polluter of our environment. My fast fashion purchases were directly related to child labor, thousands of pounds of water used per item, chemicals going into our oceans and contributing 65 LBS of waste a year to landfills. There wasn’t anything out there that satisfied THAT need to look great and be good to the environment. I tried the few sustainable brands but I soon realized that they were not stylish. So, I was back at square one, they fulfilled one need, to be good to our environment but lacked making me feel beautiful & stylish. That's when I realized that this magical place did not exist. So I created it.
Why is it so important to encourage “lending” garments as oppose to buying them new?
The most important reason is to extend the life of a garment to prevent it from hitting the landfills. Second is by lending you and making good fashion more attainable, so instead of women running to fast fashion they can enjoy fashion without buying something unethically made; And 3rd to show the brands who produce unethically, who use child labor, who pollute our planet that we don’t need them.
Eco-friendly / Eco-aware fashion brands and services seem to grow more popular every day. What are some of the characteristics or services of Style Lend that make it stand out from the pack?
We are the first peer to peer rental company. We've seen Rent the Runway or Le Tote. Outside of second-hand market (selling/buying used items) women aren’t sharing. Style Lend hopes to be a community where women can come and rent/lend from each other and in the future buy/sell & even swap.
What are your thoughts on Fast Fashion Giants (Such as H&M, Zara, F21)?
Although we understand why these organizations grew in popularity, we are concerned with the way they produce their items. It doesn’t seem sustainable to buy a $4.99 t-shirt; Why is it so cheap? What type of damage are they causing to our planet and their workers so that we can buy it for that cheap? We also feel that although the brands/companies are to blame, so are the consumers. Specially the bloggers and influencers that support those brands and encourage their followers to purchase from them. If you are an influencer and are able to buy that Zimmerman dress, why are you sharing "cheaper versions" that are killing our planet? We hope that with Style Lend that same girl can share her closet and make her looks available to her fans at the same price as suggesting that Zara knock off.
Favorite Fashion Designer?
To be honest I don't have a favorite designer as I love a variety of mixing and matching brands. If I had to pick one it would be a brand like Reformation which is sustainable and pushing the envelope on what looks good but also is good for our planet.
Fashion “must have”?
A good waist belt so that you can make any dress fit. I fall in love with dresses and sometimes because we don't have all sizes in one dress I can still make them work for my body with a tiny little belt.
Lastly, Anything we should be looking forward to for Style Lend?
We have some really cool features that we plan to release later this year. These will help women to look good on a daily basis and not have to worry about breaking the bank. It will be a great value option where instead of spending all that money on fast fashion to stay on trend, now they can pay a certain fee to subscribe to a closet they love on Style Lend and always look stylish.
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