When we buy clothes from fast fashion brands, thinking they look super cool, do we actually consider the adverse effects of doing so? Most of that clothing is produced unethically, transported using coal-based machinery, and disposed of with little to no efforts made to be environmentally conscious. Compared to garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year, such fast-moving fashion produces 400% more carbon emissions per item per year. In addition to this, workers are underpaid and work in extremely harsh environments. We wanted to create a platform for consumer awareness about the issue of fast fashion. In addition, we wanted to create a human connection between those who wear the clothes, and the people who made them.
What it does
Know Your Closet is a mobile app that allows users to simply scan a barcode of a clothes product, and get instant information about the country, factory etc. where it was produced, the workers involved in production, as well as sustainability indexes of that particular product. We obtained the sustainability index from the Fashion Transparency Index Report 2020 for each brand, and the Higg index for each cloth type. The users can view the profiles and stories of the workers and form a social connection. We have also created a platform to register workers and products into our system for users. We have a user stories section where you can see a story as a video of the person or people who actually made the clothes you wear.
Fashion Transparency Index
The Fashion Transparency Index 2020 reviewed 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.
The Index is a tool to incentivise and push major brands to be more transparent, and encourage them to disclose more information about their policies, practices and supply chain. Transparency isn’t about which brand does the best, but about who discloses the most information. Transparency does not equal sustainability. Brands may be disclosing a lot of information about their policies and practices but this doesn’t mean they are acting in a sustainable or ethical manner. We know that the pursuit of endless growth is in itself unsustainable. However, without transparency we cannot see or protect vulnerable people and the living planet.
Public disclosure invites us in, and allows us to exercise our right to find out more, non-disclosure perpetuates a non-inclusive system, where citizens are expected to trust brands who have continued to put profit and growth above all else.
The Higg Index
Developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Higg Index is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment.
The Higg Index helps brands, retailers, manufacturers, and academics understand the environmental impacts of apparel, footwear, and textiles. There are two main Higg Tools: the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) and the Higg Product Module (Higg PM).
In our approach, we use the Higg MSI to evaluate the environmental and ecological footprint of the fabrics which make up the clothing item, along with the packaging.
How we built it
- React Native for front-end
- MongoDB Atlas (GCP host) for storing worker, product, factory, fabric, brand and country
- Flask for back-end prototyping
- GCP serverless functions for endpoints
- Figma for prototyping
Challenges we ran into
We faced challenges with integrating our flask server with react native, as well as finishing our project on time. We also faced challenges with the MongoDB integrations. Furthermore, we also struggled on how to turn our problem statement into a quantitative solution, to measure a company's or product's sustainability performance.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of creating an effective and fully functional mobile app with a clean UI and fast back-end. We are extremely proud to have turned our problem statement into a conceptualized and quantitative solution by using the Higg Index, a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. Furthermore, we are proud to have used the Fashion Transparency Index in our system as well, a tool to incentivize and push major brands to be more transparent, and encourage them to disclose more information about their policies, practices and supply chain.
What we learned
We learnt how to use React Native and MongoDB atlas. We also learned how to incorporate real life tools such as Higg index and Fashion Transparency into our solution.
What's next for Know Your Closet
We would like to use a more robust framework such as NodeJS for our back-end, and polish off some bugs to streamline the user experience and interface. We would also like to expand the feature set, and release this app for android and iOS.
Domain.com domain - whatsinmycloset.space