As much of a working girl nutcase as I seem at times, as the writer of the Jewish Mother’s Guide to Style, I always do my best to be sensitive to those stay-at-homes who are more fond of my suggestions that keep them stylish and current in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Enter the fashion blogosphere and all things cool that have popped up on the World Wide Web to keep you style savvy at the click of a mouse (besides this here web publication). Case in point: I-ELLA.com. I-Ella was just launched during New York Fashion Week as a bridge and marketplace for buying, selling, sharing and swapping between your closet and those of other trend-setters across the country. While there are those of you who may just be interested in a great online shopping site, this particular web destination provides you with a myriad of more options to get designer goods for less into your closet. Submit your information, receive an invite to join the site and you could find yourself swapping, borrowing, lending or selling fabulous items to fellow I-Ella members and bidding on items from the closets of fashion loving celebrities like Whitney Port of The City, stylist Mary Alice Stephenson and supermodel Veronica Webb. What’s more? I-Ella was created with a charitable component as well – they donate 10% of all transaction fees they charge to charities of your choice. While I presume we all know how to buy items online, I was more concerned about navigating the more novel aspects of I-Ella’s groundbreaking site when I heard of its launch in the Fashion Week tents. I chatted with a representative from their team who walked me through all the how-to’s of getting the things I have admired in other’s closets, in luxury department stores and on the red carpet into my closet.
Borrowing: Similar to sites like Rent The Runway, I-Ella acknowledges that when it comes to formal wear or statement items, you may only want or need to wear once, there is no need to splurge. As an alternative, the site offers a borrowing feature where you, for a fraction of the price, can rent one of their featured items.
Swapping: Operating on the credo that one woman’s trash is another’s treasure, users can swap items with one another on I-Ella. This eco-friendly method of fashion recycling brings the second-hand designer shop you adore downtown to your living room and gives you peace of mind knowing your once beloved handbag from seasons past is now someone’s new found fashion obsession. *FYI: I-Ella charges a $5.00 transaction fee per person for facilitating each swap and donates 10% of each swap’s fee to a charity of your choice.
Selling / Lending: Anyone can put up items for sale or lend on I-Ella to make room in your closet for new purchases and clean house of things you once loved but no longer find inspiring and exciting. As the seller, you determine the price of your wares, but I-Ella suggests you aim for approximately 40% of the items retail price. While the site welcomes all items and tastes, the I-Ella team screens all items posted to the site to be sure each item meets their standards of quality. Quite candid about their curation process, the team notes their love for designer items, new items, quality vintage, art, books, and even menswear. Things they hate? “Alcohol, tobacco, drug paraphernalia, real estate, weapons, motor vehicles of any kind and anything that promotes glorified hatred, racial and/or religious intolerance and illegal behavior.” Pretty much, head to I-Ella to sell or lend anything you yourself would head to a site to buy or borrow as a fashion lover. Anything you would otherwise purchase through a dealer has no place being sold on this site that seems to be breaking ground in the style marketplace. *Note: In sales, sellers keep 90% of the buy price and I-Ella keeps the remaining 10% as their aforementioned transaction fee. Naturally, 10% of that fee will land itself with the charity of your choice.
Things I have already fallen in love with on I-Ella? A brand new pair of J.Brand Chinos, Chanel black jersey open-toed wedge boots, Chanel perforated slate grey brogues and a Proenza Schouler tie-dye dress – and those are not even the wares being sold by celebrities. Veronica Webb is auctioning off a mouth-watering Lanvin coat and starting today, Whitney Port will be auctioning off her wares from her closet, including some pieces from her line Whitney Eve. Whether you bid on once-worn items by celebs or swap a statement necklace for a classic gold piece, a visit to I-Ella will have you emptying your closets in exchange for brand new duds. Don’t fear that a visit to a shopping site will have you draining your wallet dry; in this wretched recession, I-Ella may be the solution to cleaning house and shopping simultaneously – all for the low price of a charitable donation.