Marketplace of the Future

Posted by Jolie Peters
(@Jolie Peters)

It was magic hour when the party started. You know, that time of day where the sun is kissing the sky goodbye, just before it begins to set. Everything glows a golden-pink, the clouds resemble cotton candy and hope.

I ventured to the 15th floor of the Starret Lehigh building, and walked through a portal of astroturf and Christmas lights, where at the other end, a room full of sustainability warriors mingled with one another, discussing the future. I made it just in time to catch the sunset on a strip of patio overlooking the Hudson River and Chelsea, Manhattan. 

This wasn’t my first time attending the Marketplace of the Future, but it was more refreshing than I remember in years past. This is possibly because the event preceded the Kavanaugh hearings by a day, and being in a room of like-minded individuals who are dedicating their lives to the betterment of the world was a much needed antidote to my court case hangover.

Like last year, the event mission boasts a futuristic utopian marketplace where all of the goods sold are sustainable in some capacity. Guests sip a hearty pour of wine or vodka from a Stojo cup, listen to live music, sample snacks from a waste-free catering company, and can even participate in a live art instillation. Here are some of my favorite companies that tabled at the event. 

Sigrid & Co

From Africa to Guatemala, the founder of Sigrid & Co turns her incredibly detailed designs into actual home goods by outsourcing the production to areas around the globe. After taking inspiration from the classic styles of each area, she then turns to local artisans to have the pillows, throws, carpets and more made.

Stojo

Stojo, a collapsable pocket cup, was seemingly an event partner as each guest received one at the door and was prompted to utilize it at the bar. The cups are microwave and heat safe, and also include a reusable straw, so you can use it for hot and cold beverages. The sleek design and pastel colors make the Stojo ultra chic as well.

GroupHug

While GroupHug is still in it’s prototype phase, this company was one of the most impressive of the evening. The designer wanted to create a product that transformed the bulky, unattractive solar panel into a work of art. To do that, she uses small solar tiles and creates beautiful designs that look like stained glass. For now, her solar panels are used to produce smaller amounts of energy within the home. Once GroupHug is available for purchase, people will be able to use it to charge their phones or computers the sustainable way. However, sky’s the limit for this brand, and once they finalize their product people will be able to use it to produce larger amounts of power as well.

Wear Wardrobe

With companies like Airbnb creating a booming sharing economy, it’s shocking that a platform like Wear Wardrobe doesn’t exist yet. The app will allow fashionistas to rent out couture items to others for events, weddings and the like. In combatting the problems affiliated with fast fashion, Wear Wardrobe only allows users to rent higher-end pieces – but that doesn’t reflect in the price of each rental. For under a hundred dollars, a renter can rock a DVF, Chanel, Gucci and more. While the app is still in it’s beta phase, they have already secured a partnership with the largest green dry cleaning company in NYC (for now, Wear is piloting in New York only). If you are renting out an item from your closet, you simply drop it off at the closest dry cleaner, who will then deliver it to the renter. Once they’re done, the renter will return it to the dry cleaner, who will then give it back to it’s original owner, allowing the cycle to start over again. For anyone who has sold on Ebay or Poshmark, you know that the most time-consuming aspect is taking photos of the items for sale. For now, Wear Wardrobe is also hosting a monthly photo shoot for app users. Simply bring the items you want to list, and let the Wear Wardrobe team shoot them on an actual model. If you’re a vintage/shopping junkie like me, you won’t want to miss this awesome app.

Suyo

Major snaps for Suyo, an active wear brand that uses recycled polyester and plastics in order to make their ultra-breathable and soft workout items. I was initially deterred by the thought of wearing plastic to the gym, but my concerns were immediately dismissed once I felt the garments. Not only are they super comfy, but the designs are modern and flattering. Now you’ll always have an excuse to go to the gym or a hit a yoga class.

The Fillery

Once open, the Fillery will be a zero-waste grocery store. The goods will be sold per-pound and via a lightweight Fillery bag. Simply bring your reusable bag to the market, fill it up with the goods you need, and pour it into a mason jar upon returning home. Sadly, the Fillery has been sourcing a Brooklyn location for over two years. I say sadly because I am counting down the days to go completely waste-free when shopping for food.