While for many adults, fashion is a passion, for teenagers, fashion can be a way of life.
UsTrendy wants to support their lifestyle. The eCommerce fashion marketplace is, by its own description, “the world’s largest independent and boutique clothing site.” A quick click on that link demonstrates that the fashion on display absolutely lives up to the “Girls just wanna have fun” motto that greets visitors to the website.
In need of a classic black, backless, sequined micro-mini dress? Good news, UsTrendy has you. Want the same dress, but feel like black is too understated? Add gold. Pink glitter clutch? No problem. Black platform strappy sandals with metal embellishments? Yup, all there — and lots more in the family of the ultra-hip for the ultra hip.
Unfortunately, beautiful boutique clothing — particularly of the hyper-trendy variety — often doesn’t come cheap. While some of the items on UsTrendy’s website are quite affordable (or at least in the range of what one would expect to spend for a similar good), other things, not so much. That black, sequined micro-mini, for example, is $342. The gold and black version runs closer to $400.
While one might expect UsTrendy’s CEO, Sam Sisakhti, to understand the fashion part of his business, it is somewhat less expected (and common) among those selling designer dresses to really think much about the fact that access to clothes of a certain kind are usually only accessible to a small subset of well-collateralized teenagers.
“Each school season there is so much pressure on young people to stay in style but very little consideration to that fact that there are families out there who can’t afford new clothing for the school year,” Sisakhti noted in an email to PYMNTS.
And that, Sisakhti decided, was a problem for which he could find a solution.
“For back-to-school season, I will be traveling throughout the U.S., delivering dresses to underprivileged girls and bringing in speakers to talk with them about anti-cyber bullying.”
The effort comes as part of the “Believe in Yourself Project” Sisakhti launched a year ago — with the larger aim of trying to boost poor body image, which afflicts many young girls and women. Beautiful clothes, which Sisakhti notes he certainly sells, are only part of the solution. The teenagers wearing them also have to feel good.
“Women are expected to appear a certain way and live up to a manufactured and unrealistic notion of what beauty is,” Sisakhti said. “At the same time, strained finances can prevent many girls from keeping up with what’s trending or cool, making them feel isolated among their friends for not being able to afford clothing that is deemed as ‘in’ socially.”
To that end, “Believe in Yourself” is tackling the problem in two different ways. First, it’s taking the access question off the table by donating homecoming and prom dresses to those in need.
“So far, we have donated hundreds of dresses and are on our way to donating 10,000.”
Those donations, he noted, are not quite a one-shot deal, as the girls who receive them are registered in the system and receive dresses all throughout the school year for various special occasions.
Beyond the clothes themselves, the second part of UsTrendy’s effort is focused on helping reboot the minds of the young women who wear their homecoming dresses — and girls everywhere.
“We are in the process of setting up mentoring programs around the country which will feature weekly meetings in various cities across the country, as well as online seminars available to girls anywhere. The meetings and online seminars will include interactive and open-table discussions where influential women will mentor and have discussions with girls about creating and maintaining a positive body image and about combating and dealing with cyber bullying. We will also be providing new back-to-school clothing for the girls.”
Clothes should be fun. A quick glance around UsTrendy quickly confirms that fun is their overriding fashion imperative. But fun with fashion can only happen when clothes are affordable — and when the wearers feel good about wearing them.
UsTrendy is making that easier, one prom dress and mentor relationship at a time.