Formal footwear at a fraction of the price is the idea behind a new startup company. It's a designer shoe rental service run by a Troy woman. She hopes an event in February will help expand her footprint in area.

For a lot of people, "fashion" is an ugly word.

"For decades, fashion has only been exclusive. It’s been for the elite, the ones that could afford," said Kierrha Funderburg, owner of DWTN LUSH.

The 28-year-old business owner wants to prove you do not need deep pockets to express yourself through style.

“You should be able to wear whatever it is you want to wear and not have to worry about whether it is worth buying an $800 pair of shoes, or paying your rent for the month," Funderburg said.

DWTN LUSH is a web-based designer shoe rental service. Still in the beta phase, she serves about two dozen customers and delivers shoes herself right to customer’s doors. 

Funderburg is also a family therapist. She used her savings to purchase what’s available.

On February 23, she will officially launch her brand with a fashion show at Levels Banquet Hall in Albany. She will be showing the work of local clothing designers like Chavez Gibbes.

"A lot of especially up and coming designers, and the people that are making big strides in the industry are coming from more humble beginnings, and are being a lot more creative with what they do," Gibbes said.

Proceeds will help provide a dozen local high school girls with shoes to wear to prom in the spring.

Funderburg is bootstrapping a business providing access to luxury shoes but is really offering soul.

“How you look sometimes changes how you feel. Allowing other women to get that opportunity to feel good about what they’re wearing, and look good for a day, look like a princess for a day, then so be it. That is definitely my goal for everyone to get that experience, to get that feeling,” Funderburg said.