Fast fashion has been a long time issue. It's something we have all contributed to whether consciously or not. As our society moves on from trend to trend, pieces of our wardrobe are abandoned at increasing rates, contributing to large amounts of waste; 85% of all textiles go to land-fills each year. Industries will try to optimize their profits by creating their products as cheap and fast as they can. This means taking advantage of the cheap costs of synthetic materials, like polyester, nylon, spandex etc. These materials are non-biodegradable, creating excess permanent waste. To make matters worse, these manufacturers often over produce, and rather than donating, they are incinerated to retain “brand image”. Fast fashion has been accelerated with the push from social media, as the younger demographic buys into “cheap and stylish”.
However, the pandemic has shifted these norms, as the industry's supply chains are disrupted and consumers are more inclined in supporting local businesses as well as purchasing longer lasting comfortable lounge-wear. We saw an opportunity to make sustainable purchasing more convenient and accessible.
What it does
A Fashion Nomad (AFK) allows you to browse through options of clothing pieces with transparent sustainability information. Making your fashion experience more informed.
- The user inputs the desired clothing piece (e.g. t-shirt, jeans etc.)
- AFK outputs a list of clothing matching to the description, with information about material and place of manufacturing.
- The user will decide on which item is best fit for them using the information provided.
The target audience are Gen Zers and Millennials. During the pandemic, there has been supply chain disruptions and a large shift towards ecommerce and the younger demographic has been more open to purchasing from smaller brands. Combined with an increasing awareness of the environmental and social impacts of fast fashion, we believe that we can encourage more sustainable behaviour by making the alternatives more convenient and accessible, with a direct comparison to the typical options.
The implementation of the app website relies on information that is readily available. Although dispersed, our app serves to amalgamate it into one place. We believe there will be user buy in as the general population shifts towards more sustainable living. There are existing forums that have this information (i.e. blogs, subreddits and youtube videos), so there is already an existing user base. Our app tackled the problem from a different perspective and feeds users the products right on the site, making it more convenient and accessible.
How I built it
The web app was built using React, Selenium and Material UI. For the data visualization, dextreme was used.
Challenges I ran into
One of the challenges faced was deciding which metrics to use and how to rank the sustainability of each clothing item. Since a piece of clothing’s life cycle is not usually published on store websites, we had to use readily available information like material composition and transportation. For example, we assumed that the further away the manufacturer is, the more energy and fuel it consumed, and the more polyester the material used, the more resources and waste it contributed to.
What's next for AFK
After 1 year, we hope to be increasing our database with more websites and brands to grow the database. We also want to expand and solidify the sustainability metrics, provide a ranking system, and give our users more options and filters to select their alternatives.
After 5 years, we hope to have a more mature website and a reliable and global collection of brands. Specifically smaller and local brands targeted towards location or user preferences. Complementary to the website, we hope to have a mobile app and an extension to work directly on store websites.
In 10 years, we hope that the industry has adopted more sustainable options, which means there is no function for our app. We perceive the termination of this app to signify the success of our mission.