Sari Azout and Sari Bibliowicz—yes, a fashion duo who shares first names!—are taking on the modern fashion business with a spirit of creative ingenuity. Their concept fits right into today’s internet and social-media-obsessed culture. The two Saris founded Bib + Tuck, a truly innovative online clothing swap for the fashion-conscious to barter one of a kind garments, without having to worry about their bank accounts. Relief! With Bib + Tuck, the high-end statement piece you’ve been craving to add to your wardrobe is no longer impossible to reach. I interviewed Sari Azout and found out why…and how.

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Can you explain Bib + Tuck and the innovation that started it all?

My co-founder, Sari Bibliowicz and I have been friends forever. We grew up together in Bogotá, Colombia and once we moved to New York after graduating college, ended up in the same building with a couple other friends. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money so we all started trading clothing. What was beautiful about what we were doing is that it felt like it was all about shopping without spending. It was all about giving and taking, not just giving or taking. We thought there are a lot of places online where you can sell your clothes but we didn’t really like that dynamic. We wanted to create a community where real money was secondary to participation. The pre-owned, secondhand vintage market doesn’t really have that sort of coolness factor and appeal, so we set out to build a community where you can shop without spending in a generative way while making secondhand clothing appealing.

The whole idea behind it is fascinating, but as the founders of an innovative, online invite-only clothing swap, is there pressure to keep things exciting and progressive, or are people just naturally excited by it?

I think that people are definitely excited by it, but as it is with anything when you’re first starting off, you really have to work your ass off to get the right people. We really want to preserve our vision of being a really great shopping destination where people can refresh their wardrobes without spending money. We are really working on the community factor and staying relevant with our audience. I mean, this is the beginning for us, so we’re really excited about all the initiatives we have going on and all the great things to come between now and the end of the year.

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How would you describe Bib + Tuck’s model citizen?

Well, we really tried to build it with ourselves in mind. The average user is between 18 and 30, so it’s definitely a mid-twenties girl, highly creative, very much involved in social platforms. I’d say the Bib + Tuck girl is familiar with Instagram and she’s tweeting. She’s not afraid to try new things, and is highly fashionable and very socially-conscious. Also she’s really sort of rebellious in a way. She’s looking for alternatives to buying clothing.

So a modern girl who is well-versed in the times? That’s a really great demographic, but Bib + Tuck is invite-only. What are the qualities you guys are looking for in potential exclusive members?

So we actually made it invite-only as a mechanism to start off and build the tone. We see that any brand that opens up to the public really fast risks creating a brand identity, and so we said “Let’s just get the most creative people together and prove that we can refresh our closets without spending money. Let’s prove that we can do this by bartering and not just by selling.” We are prepared to open up the site to the public, and when we do we’ll be introducing some features around curation. We just want to make sure that the quality of the items that are being uploaded is being upheld in a certain way. We’re all about supporting emerging designers and quality or quantity. We don’t want to be a luxury marketplace necessarily. We’re all about the high-low, like the average user on our platform who is wearing designer labels and can also be wearing Zara. So it’s really that high-low girl that we’re catering to, but we really have to set limits. Especially after the [factory deaths] incident that happened in Bangladesh, we’re very conscious of what brands we want to support and allow on our platform.

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What’s one personality trait you and Sari would Bib + Tuck (give and take) from each other?

Sari is way more chill, you know? She’s like “We’ll figure it out. Everything will turn out okay.” I’m more like the freaking out personality. I wish I could get a chill pill from her and accept that whatever’s meant to be will happen, but I’m sort of an OCD freak.

How greatly does fashion shape your everyday life?

Fashion shapes my everyday life in a way that’s very different from what someone in the industry might be shaped by; I’m not the kind of person who wakes up and reads a lot of fashion magazines. I get fashion inspiration from somewhat non-traditional sources. I don’t follow trends religiously. But getting dressed is such an important part of my life, my attitude, and my personality. I’m very excited by fashion, but I’m not addicted to trends, so I really want to build a platform that appeals to fashionable people without playing into the annoyance of the industry.

In this era, there are a lot of creative and fashion-forward people who express themselves through their wardrobes, but at the same time, our struggling economy is not exactly wallet-friendly. How important of a role do you think Bib + Tuck can play, with that in mind?

I mean, that is like a huge thing for us. It’s really weird, I actually graduated from Brown University and I took a job in finance because I had to pay the bills. And I was like, “I’m doing this thing that I hate, and I know that I’m very entrepreneurial and meant to be doing something else, but I’m making all this money on the trading floor which I’m then spending on clothes. What if I could just do something that I love and makes me happy but it may not make me any money? And what if I still want to afford the clothes I like?” So that for me really spawned the Bib + Tuck idea. For me it’s really buying something that is high quality and using Bib + Tuck to elongate the lifespan of it. It’s really the answer to our prayers if you have one piece that you can kind of swap for something else, and then you re-sell that. It really allows you to shop without spending and it allows you to not have to sacrifice labor standards or environmental standards under the premise that you can’t afford good, organic clothing.

I think it’s the answer to a lot of people’s prayers. Finally, how has the Bib + Tuck journey been so far?

I mean it has been such a learning experience. Whatever happens, we have met a lot of great people along the way. It’s been a very organic process from the time we used to meet on Sundays to talk about our vision over coffee, and it all just sort of naturally progressed and captured people’s attention. It’s all been very organic. It’s not just about clothes; it’s about a lifestyle. It’s just been very wonderful.

For more on Bib + Tuck, check out their official Facebook page and their website.

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