A former Britain’s Top Model contender from Teesside has teamed up with her best friend to launch a quirky fashion rentals app.
Jade McSorley from Eston came third on the hit TV show in her twenties.
A glittering modelling career followed with the likes of Burberry, ASOS, Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
She met her best friend Lucy Hall, from Yarm, in London – after the high-flying model booker recognised Jade’s unmistakably Teesside twang.
“I was worked for Models 1,” says Lucy, 36, “I thought ‘I know that accent’ and asked Jade where she was from.
“We became best mates. That was 12 years ago.
“I also married her best friend.”
Now the two friends have teamed up with designer Jen Charon to form LoanHood – a free fashion rental app that helps people ‘circulate’ the items hanging unused in their wardrobes and make money from them.
Rentals last for seven days, with users either meeting in person or choosing bike or mail delivery.
A crowdfunder, launching next month will hopefully raise the £15,000 needed to get the business “over the line”.
“With so many clothes and nothing to wear,” says Lucy, “rental is the perfect choice for fun loving 20-somethings to circulate fashion, with no subscription or joining fee.
“It’s fun and fast fashion but without the impact on the planet, like Depop but for clothes rental.
“When Jade came to me about LoanHood, I had a restaurant in Covent Garden, which I sold.
“She said let’s do it, and we went into business together.”
And the pandemic has meant the LoanHood concept is “even more important”, Lucy adds.
“We first started LoanHood in 2019 and were running swaps and events to get some buzz around it, with a plan to launch in early 2020.
“Then covid happened.
“Nobody was going out, nobody was wanting to rent clothes.
“So we postponed it.
“It actually worked out quite well for the business, it allowed us to get our ideas down and get the branding right.
“Now we need to get it over the line.
“People can make money out of LoanHood, everyone coming out of covid is uncertain about their jobs and what’s happening with the economy.
“This is a way to use the clothes you already have and rent them out to other people.
“Students are our perfect audience. They are open to it.
“We are working with fashion and business students at Teesside University.”
Lucy also worked as Head of Image at Elite model agency in London before taking a break from the industry and opening her award-winning restaurant, Jar Kitchen, in Covent Garden.
She gave birth to her daughter Joely in lockdown and now lives in York with her husband Jonny, from Eston.
Jade, now 33, still models and also works with the Fashion Innovation Agency, part of London College of Fashion, after graduating with an MA in Fashion Futures.
They have teamed up with LoanHood co-founder and graphic designer Jen Charon, 39, who has worked for the likes of Yoox Net-a-Porter, Manolo Blahnik and Karen Millen.
Official figures show UK consumers have around £30bn worth of clothes they haven’t worn for a year, hanging in their wardrobes – with £140m worth going to landfill, Lucy says.
“Fashion can’t continue the way it is,” she adds, “it’s so polluting.
“We all need to start renting our clothes.”
The LoanHood Crowdfunder will begin on March 8 and run for four weeks.