TRENDSWAP: Project LoLe
Fundamentals of Sustainable Design
Sustainability Focus of the Piece: This submission captures the ideas and strategies we finished off with in this course looking at regenerative and thrivability models, moving past the idea of just “sustaining life on earth” and envisioning the role and responsibility of humans as the carriers for regeneration. This is a thrivability business idea for Maui that could move the island’s tourism economy towards one that gives back more than it takes away.
Objective Focus of the Piece: This submission showcases my final project, which made me look again at a business idea that brings services and experiences together with products, working on a plan to minimize the need of cheap consumption and one-use equipment buys when traveling and instead participate in a shared economy through rentals run by the local Maui community.
To get TRENDSWAP up on its feet, we are beginning with a project model called LoLe, to test within our local community on Maui, Hawai’i. The exponential growth of tourism on Maui, the long travel distance, as well as the high price of goods for locals, gives an opportunity for TRENDSWAP to test the waters. Our hope is to start a community model that can be applied elsewhere, eventually leading to an accessible network of global TRENDSWAP communities.
TRENDSWAP’s mission is to localize fashion, connect global communities through product sharing, and to not let material needs get in the way of exploration, freedom, spontaneity and mobility.
Vision and Values:
TRENDSWAP's vision is to be the trusted business for quality local fashion rentals, known for its engagement with environmental, cultural, and societal concerns.The company values culture, freedom, wellbeing, diversity of people and landscape, environmental safety and thriving communities.
Our business objective is to establish local networks and an accessible infrastructure to allow communities to share their identity and sense of place within their communities, as well as host visitors interested in new cultural engagements. Our environmental objective is to work towards products in our rental service that are Cradle to Cradle® certified— being made from naturally derived sources that can return to nature, or synthetics that are recycled and returned back into the industry stream.
TRENDSWAP is service rental business run by locals, giving visitors access to classic and functional clothing, accessories, and footwear that are tied to culture and place for their vacation, special outing, or next adventure. TRENDSWAP allows members to easily register a personal file online with preference details, personal style and fitting information that is used only to select the best possible wardrobe according to a user’s needs and preferences. Fittings can be made online from home, or by appointment with one of the stylists via video chat or at one of the store locations. The company does not go as far as to swapping stranger’s clothes, selling them or auctioning them for the user like consignment stores, Ebay, Craigslist or the like. TRENDSWAP does buy gently used fashion from visitors and the community to keep fashion waste out of the landfill and back into a user cycle. If items don’t meet the company’s standards, we will repurpose them into other products or forward the items as donations to local non-profits that can use them. TRENDSWAP is interested in serving the niche of destination rentals, connecting and building relationship between visitor and host culture through product exchange and experience. As this is a newer concept for the market, TRENDSWAP's goal is to create local flagship stores and services under the company’s structure and name to ensure start up quality and standards are met and are in alignment with the core mission, values and purpose of the company.
—TRENDSWAP supports a spontaneous lifestyle, and one that comes with no extra baggage. NO luggage. NO waiting in Baggage Claim. NO stress. Current fashion is becoming too homogenized. It’s time to wear our differences, sharing the unique landscapes, histories and cultural backgrounds we live in.—
LoLe, pronounced (lolay), is a TRENDSWAP concept store located on destination travel location Maui, Hawai’i. With over 2,500,000 travelers coming to the island a year, spending $4.5 billion during their time on island, presents Maui as an interesting choice to test for interest groups of destination travelers. LoLe means cloth/ clothes/ dress in the Hawaiian language. “Komo i ka lole” means to put on a dress/ to wear clothes. LoLe will start as the first prototype store for TRENDSWAP, showing the hospitality of the islands through “ho’o komo” —to dress another person. LoLe will be supporting local craftsmen and women, local designers and Hawai‘i brands with a priority on collaborating with socially responsible companies that have a similar interest in community enrichment and are actively supporting local environmental interests and concerns.
The current design partners for LoLe’s Maui store will be from Maui, its neighboring islands and California. Companies such as but not limited to include B Corp status Olukai (footwear), Makani and Pakaloa Swimwear (bathing suits), Maui Thing and Kealepiko (clothing), PACT (undergarments and sport wear), Hana Hou Hilo (natural Hawaiian accessories) and Upcycle Hawaii (upcycled ocean plastic accessories). As the fashion business on Maui needs guidance and support to switch to a more locally focused and specialized lifestyle clothing, LoLe will also be living out their full vision by creating a Cradle to Cradle® inspired 100 percent Maui made company lifestyle line to develop and support its environmentally conscious values and vision in the form of a localized hub for cultural fashion practices that re-instill a relationship to the land, the community and the host culture. This cultural hub would be located at the main flagship store in central Maui.
To bring TRENDSWAP's LoLe to fruition, these foundational steps would need to be made:
TRENDSWAP's mission, values, vision and objectives to make change in its community through business, is no small task, but with a steady integration of this proposed model in the Maui community and trust and engagement from Maui locals, it could lead to some foundational changes in the way island business is conducted. Many tourist businesses are privately owned and operated by corporations or sole proprietors that make direct transactions and pay-offs from tourists that do not directly trickle back into the community’s needs. Introducing this type of rental system and community integration may take some time and trust, as most see tourist related companies as entities that look out for themselves only. There has been a lot that has been taken away from native Hawaiians and locals in the islands that has lead to a, “fend for yourself and your family” mentality and a love-hate relationship with tourism as it “pays the bills” yet steadily depletes the resources they love and depend on. The hope for LoLe is to become a platform and local business that is not only reaching towards a sustainable Maui, but one that can shoot for cultural “thrivability”, creating a positive outcome that is giving out more energy than it takes to sustain the company.Maybe it can start with the daily things. Maybe it can start with fashion!