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Don't want to wear the same outfit twice around the same person? There's an app for that

Two lifelong fashion lovers have designed an app they hope will empower shoppers and retailers to make smart, sustainable decisions.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota couple has designed a new app with the hopes of empowering fashion lovers to be more intentional about their purchases and get more wear out of existing items in their closet.

Tara Daily and Jerry Johnson both describe themselves as lifelong lovers of fashion. However, as environment devotees, they started to feel uncomfortable about how much waste the fashion industry creates.

"The more that we learned [about textile waste], the more compelled we really became to want to do something about it," Daily said. 

Daily and Johnson, who both have backgrounds in regulated industries, decided to combine their passions for style and sustainability with their professional experience. Starting in 2019, they began to design DressDecode. The app, scheduled to launch late 2022 or early 2023, enables users to become more aware of what's already in their closet and identify their true preferences. That way, they can make better decisions about purchasing what they're likely to wear, instead of an item that will just sit around in their closet.

Credit: KARE 11
In the "Style Bio" page, a user can quickly skim through what daily outfits they've worn.

"A lot of times, some of our most loved or prized pieces we don’t even wear often enough because we are so fearful perhaps of like, oh that’s such a statement piece. That person has already seen it," Daily said. "And that’s such a shame."

The app works by creating a platform for users to take a photo of what they're wearing each day. Users can also tag and log each specific item associated with their outfit -- a necklace, a blouse, a pair of sneakers, etc. Then, they can associate the entire outfit with a calendar event. The app integrates digital calendar platforms, such as Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar. If you have a haircut, for example, you can associate your outfit with that event, so the next time you head to the salon, your stylist won't see you in the same look.

"We encourage wearing and re-wearing outfits if you love them," Daily said. "But we know realistically, some people are very strategic about choosing when they want to repeat those outfits, and that’s why we built that into the app."

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Credit: KARE 11
Johnson and Daily work out of their Minneapolis-based office.

Another feature of the app is its ability to figure out if you're getting your money's worth out of an outfit. When you log each individual item, you can enter its cost. Then, the app will calculate our cost-per-wear.

"This awareness of having your wear history of knowing your true preferences, what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, can be used in this way where are user is able to get more utilization out of the clothes that they own and also make more intentional and conscious purchase decisions," Daily said.

So far, the project has been self-funded, and as they prepare to launch later this year or early next year, Daily and Johnson are currently working on finding investors who believe in their ability to help change the industry for the better. Eventually, Daily and Johnson plan to partner with major retailers who can use the data about shoppers' preferences. They hope this can empower retailers to create designs that will actually be worn, instead of producing items that may not generate interest, thus ending up in the landfill.

"Data is what is missing, and necessary by both us as consumers and also businesses in the industry in order to become more sustainable," Daily said.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Daily will be speaking on The Future of Fashion panel, an event during Fashion Week Minnesota. The event, which costs $25 to attend, will be held at the Rand Tower Hotel in Minneapolis.

Credit: Fashion Week MN

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