It’s fair to say that few people – fashion ilk or otherwise – missed the futuristic finale of the Coperni Spring/Summer 2023 show in Paris last September. Whatever your field, whatever you’re into, you almost surely saw images, watched clips or scanned a headline of technicians outfitting model Bella Hadid in a spray-on liquid fabric slip dress for the show’s dramatic close.
"Coperni is undeniably one of the most exciting names in fashion," says Victoria Prew, Founder and CEO of United Kingom-based fashion rental platform HURR. "They’re at the forefront of innovation in the industry. I mean, have you seen their viral Fashion Week moments?"
"The circular economy is the industry’s single biggest opportunity."
Prew, who has helmed her business since its launch in 2019, has long loved fashion – favoring maxi skirt-and-blazer combos for the confidence boost they give her. The recent announcement of a partnership between Coperni and HURR was no small deal, especially because the label is known for marrying fashion and technology so well.
"I knew I wanted to build a tech-first platform in the sharing-economy space," Prew says.
Cars and houses were already being done incredibly well by Uber and Airbnb. It took just a little bit of research to realize the fashion industry had a fundamental problem and needed an overhaul.
"It currently works as a linear model. You buy something, wear it and then it either sits in your wardrobe or gets thrown away," Prew says. "The circular economy is the industry’s single biggest opportunity."
How HURR works
HURR began as a simple peer-to-peer community that reinvented the concept of ownership, Prew says.
"Lenders could monetize their wardrobes and renters could borrow amazing pieces for a fraction of the cost of owning," she says.
Pretty quickly, the fashion industry took notice. Leading brands and retailers got in touch, wanting to learn how it all worked, see proofs of concept and then, once sold on the idea, make significant investments through the fledgling company.
"We’re building the home for circular fashion," Prew says. "We’re powering an incredible network plus fashion rental for 130-plus exclusive brand partners and four world-class retailers. To be able to support independent and up-and-coming brands alongside well-known luxury players is incredible."
"My vision has been crystal clear from day one."
Instructions for how to rent and how to lend are clearly outlined on the site. Would-be renters peruse looks from Chloe and Dior to not-quite-luxury Ganni and Totême, and communicate with lenders through the HURR messaging platform. Delivery, return and maintenance are arranged through HURR.
"Sustainability and the circular economy sit at the heart of everything we do," Prew says. Last year, the company became the world’s first fashion rental platform to achieve B Corp status, affirming the highest ethical and environmental standards.
"From delivery partners to net-zero dry-cleaning processes, everything has been thought of every step of the way," Prew says. "My vision has been crystal clear from day one."
Bold awards and big plans
Prew’s big plans led to her being shortlisted for Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Future Award 2023.
The award evolved out of the brand’s original Bold Woman prize, launched in 1972 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Champagne brand and pay tribute to Madame Clicquot, a daring entrepreneur in her own right.
Since 2014, the Bold Future Award has shined a spotlight on inspiring entrepreneurs of tomorrow who are redefining success on their own terms and pushing boundaries for the betterment of other women in their industry. To date, more than 350 women in 27 countries have been recipients.
"It’s such an honor," Prew says. "I’ve met some of the incredible women who have been shortlisted, many of whom I’ve looked up to for years. For me, a bold future is women uplifting other women, sharing everything we know and supporting each other every step of the way."
According to Veuve Clicquot’s international research on women’s entrepreneurship, 47 percent of women believe it’s riskier for a woman to start a business than it is for a man.
"I hope I can inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs to be bold and courageous in business."
Prew counts raising venture capital funding at a time when less than two percent of venture money goes to female founders as a massive personal milestone. But leading a team and helping to build a company that was once just an idea is the ultimate victory, she says.
"It’s vital we support one another," Prew says. "I hope I can inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs to be bold and courageous in business."
She’s worked hard to surround herself with as many experts as she could find, and build her own Board of Advisors that can guide her through difficult times, actively challenge her and ask the hard questions about HURR’s grand strategy and plans.
Those future plans – and good news for fashion lovers everywhere – involve expanding beyond the United Kingdom.
"We receive so many messages from brands, retailers and women across the world who are so excited for HURR to launch in their city," Prew says. "We’re absolutely building HURR as the global home for circular fashion. Just give me a little more time."