Dopplle the pleasure, dopplle the clothes: new clothes-swapping app set up by Bath student

Dopplle is a clothes swapping app for university and college students; swap clothes with other members at the University of Bath and reduce your fast fashion purchases.  Created by a fellow Bath student during lockdown, I chatted to founder, Izzie Hurst, to find out more about the app and the reasons behind its creating. 

What was the inspiration behind Dopplle? 

Since starting university over three years ago, I became a lot more aware of fast fashion and how it negatively impacts the environment. Information about sustainable living is a lot more accessible now and I slowly educated myself more and more about the different areas in which I could make small changes to improve my lifestyle. I have always swapped clothes with my sister Sam, but since we go to different universities, it became a lot harder to find people to swap with. Sam (a student at Nottingham University) and I  came up with the idea together for a clothes swapping platform several years ago. We both swapped clothes either permanently or temporarily with our friends at university, however, we wanted to have a bigger pool of styles and sizes to swap with as not everyone’s the same size nor has the same style. It was also super important for us to be more sustainable with our fashion choices as there is so much textile waste when it comes to fast fashion. And so, after months of brainstorming, development and testing – Dopplle was born! 

Did you always know you wanted to start a business, or has this been a brand-new idea of yours? 

Sam and I have both grown up seeing family members, including our father, start up and run their own businesses, so it has always been in our minds that one day perhaps we would start something of our own. We’ve been lucky enough to have a close support group with experience of running their own businesses, who have helped guide us on our journey. 

I absolutely LOVE the name! How did you think of it? 

Thank you! Dopplle actually stems from the German word ‘doppelgänger’ which means two people who look the same or similar. We were inspired by that and came up with “Dopplle” – two different people wearing the same item of clothing. 

The swapping experience is a two-way process and we wanted to highlight the fact that the item has been given a new life by being worn by another person.  

Why do you think clothes swapping is a good idea for students? 

We know that students often have a tight budget to stick to and so the idea of clothes swapping is not only more environmentally friendly and sustainable, but it also makes much more sense economically. There are loads of fast fashion options on the high street if you want to buy cheap clothes, but if you want to buy more sustainably, then it can be tricky to do this on a budget. There are loads of sites and apps now where you can buy preloved clothes, but with their growing popularity, it has also caused an increase in price. We wanted to make Dopplle a fair and regulated place for students to swap clothes, while building a sense of community among the students. 

What are other ways students and young people can be more sustainable with their fashion choices? 

There are lots of things that students can do to live more sustainably by altering their fashion habits! Here are just a few ideas: 

  • Try shopping in charity shops and vintage shops to give preloved items a new lease of life. 
  • When buying clothes new from fast fashion stores, always go quality over quantity, and classic pieces over trendy pieces. Try to opt for the classics e.g. a good pair of jeans is always worth investing in and won’t go out of fashion quickly. I have always been told that if you buy cheap, you end up buying twice! 
  • Make sure you really want something before you buy it from new. A few ways to make sure it’s worth the investment is to always try it on before you buy, check your wardrobe to make sure you don’t already own something really similar and try the ‘one in one out’ rule to stop yourself from owning an excessive amount of clothes. Personally, I like to create a few potential outfit options in my head when I buy new items so I know that it will go with existing pieces in my wardrobe already! 
  • Learn how to sew and adjust items – often, stuff you already own can be repaired or adapted to make them feel like you have a totally different and new item of clothing. Learning how to use a sewing machine has helped my charity shopping experience immensely because if a skirt is a bit too long or a top doesn’t fit quite right, I can add a few stitches here and there, and then I have an item I can wear even more. 

Do you plan to expand the app in other ways? What are your hopes for the future of the app? 

Yes, we are always looking for ways to make the app more intuitive and user friendly. In the future, we are hoping to use the app to inform users about swap shops and other physical events we hope to run (all COVID-19 dependent of course). We would also like to allow users to switch between different groups and universities if, for example, they are visiting friends at a different university and wish to make a swap there. 

How does the Dopplle app work? 

When a new user signs up to the app, it asks which university the student is at. The student’s account is then placed into their correct university group along with other members of their institution. Each group is a closed environment, so students can only swap with other members of their community. I chose to do this because it creates a sense of community, knowing that you are helping other students as well as making the whole transaction of swapping an item in a trade safer.  

We have introduced a virtual currency within the app called Dopplle Coins. These basically keep track of how many items people have swapped in and out of the app. We choose to do this because we realised that direct swaps (between two people exchanging one item each) is extremely rare and would be almost impossible to find an exact match. By using the Dopplle Coins system, it means that the more items you put into the app to find a new home for them, the more items you can take out of the app!  

Currently all items are valued at 1 Dopplle Coin or 0 Dopplle Coins (aka a donation) but we are looking into being able to change the value of each item in the future if students think it would enhance their experience. 

We advise people who start swapping on the Dopplle app to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines in their area and to maintain social distancing. 

So, don’t just swap it, Dopplle it!

Dopplle brings accessible and sustainable fashion to your fingertips: available to download from the App Store and the Google Play Store now. 

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