Something old, something borrowed, something Nu.

Founded by two Trinity graduates, Nu. is an ethical fashion start-up seeking to change the way we think about the fashion industry.

Nu., one of Dublin’s most influential players in the sustainable fashion sector, are reinventing the way we view and buy clothing. Having already hosted dozens of successful swap shops, the organisation have now launched an online sharing platform specifically for Trinity students. The online site is currently aimed at the end of year ball season, with particular focus placed on the sell-out event of the year, Trinity Ball.

The ethical fashion startup Nu. was founded by two Trinity graduates, Aisling Byrne and Alison Kelly. Having travelled to India and witnessed firsthand how the fast fashion industry impacted the lives of Indian people and their daily environment, the two women took it upon themselves to try implement more ethical changes back at home. The pair began by setting up swap shops, s a way of reducing excessive clothing waste.

“Seeing first hand the impact that fast-fashion has on people and the environment was tough”, Aisling recalls. “I realised there is nothing ‘sexy’ about wearing a beautiful piece when it had been made by people suffering, and that has an overwhelming negative effect on the environment and our health.” Relating closely to students, Aisling explained that “it’s so hard to know where to start, especially when money is tight and ethical and sustainable clothing is so expensive! So we decided to make small steps and come up with simple ways for students to make more sustainable choices without compromising on style!”

Of the 80 billion items of clothing produced each year, a staggering three out of four garments will end up in a landfill or incinerated, with only one quarter recycled. Large scale pollution from dyes, chemicals and fossil fuels are intrinsically linked with this mass consumption of clothing, as well as unethical exploitation of cheap labours. Nu. aims to help expand the life cycle of clothing by reusing them, and have temporarily transitioned from swap shops to an online borrowing platform on a trial basis for Trinity’s ball season. The platform seeks to help students save money whilst simultaneously making a more ethical fashion choice as consumers.

As many of us have experienced, the cost of attending balls can be enormously daunting, from the price of the ticket itself, the various transportation to and fro, and the overpriced drinks bought in between, not to mention any additional spending on your appearance. College balls can often become a major financial stress, a stress which deters many students from attending.

Nu.’s online sharing platform provides a way to alleviate some of the financial stress stemming from the fashionable element associated with such events. Whilst the swap shop set up for the college ball season has placed a lesser emphasis on suits or tuxedos, recognizing that they are usually worn repeatedly in comparison to the likes of dresses which are often deemed unwearable by the same person more than once or twice, formalwear of any kind that people wish to share with others can be placed online alongside the usual ball gowns and formal dresses. The best part? Contributing to this online sharing platform is at no additional cost to those lending their clothing.

To take part, simply email [email protected] with the size and value of the item, following which it will be added to the online platform. For those interested in finding an outfit, simply sign up with your TCD email on the Nu. site, pick the item of clothing you like and select a date you wish to borrow it for. Once the date is confirmed with the lender, all that’s left is to pick up your “new” outfit.

If you are happy with the process and wish to borrow again, you will be invited to put up any clothing you would be willing to share, helping out fellow students as well as making a more sustainable choice regarding something you might not wear that often. If you are worried about getting your clothing back in the same condition you gave it, a written contract is signed both by the lender and borrower before the share takes place, stating the amount that must be paid by the borrower if the item needs repair or is damaged. That said, as this a college-based network of sharing, more consideration and thought is generally given when wearing the borrowed item – just like borrowing one of your friend’s clothes.

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