Do you know about the environmental impact of your clothes? It might seem silly to think that clothing has an impact on our environment, but sadly this is the reality. Due to such business models like fast fashion, we are encouraged to buy more clothes for less. Sounds great for us, but terrible for our environment! This results in increase production of clothing and textiles, an industry that is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Increasing this production uses up more resources. For example, making one cotton shirt equates to drinking water for one person for 2 1/2 years. Many people throw their clothing into landfills. In the US, the volume of clothing thrown away each year has doubled in the last 20 years, from 7 million to 14 million tons. Not to mention that fact that textiles can take up to 200+ years to decompose in landfills.
Enter, ReUp , named because of our vision wanting to help people REpupose and UPcycle clothing and textiles. ReUp is an open exchange hub dedicated to facilitating an exchange of clothing and textile items among users to help reduce clothing and textile waste as well reducing needless purchasing of these items, which drive clothing and textile production. We encourage users to upcycle and repurpose their exchange and aim to create sustainable ways for people to source and use their clothing and textiles.
What it does
ReUp facilitates clothing and textile exchanging that strengthens community ties. This in turn helps people to reduce waste and environmental pollution that results from clothing and textiles being mass-produced and eventually thrown away in landfills. ReUp helps people obtain clothing/textiles for free which helps reduce the need to buy additional items, as this consumer spending only facilitates environmental pollution caused by production in the clothing and textile industry. ReUp's exchange system also promotes the skills of creativity that come with repurposing as by engaging with the user-wide commenting system users make public what they intend to create with the exchanged item. By making exchanges public, we're ensuring that ReUp users make a social commitment to use what is being traded.
How we built it
The project lifecycle for ReUp started with our idea on focusing on the problem of waste and environmental pollution in the clothing and textile industry. This is where we came up with ReUp, a community available to all where people can connect and exchange their clothing and textile items they no longer use with items they aim to repurpose. We created sample user flows and different versions of site designs in Figma, which gave us a blueprint of how the live site would work.
To test our live site login/commenting system, (Crislana), hosted it on a local server using XAMPP. Additionally, we created a live version (excluding the database/login system as it's on localhost) hosted on netlify pushed by our github repo.
Challenges we ran into
Crislana: Time zone was a big challenge personally. It was my first time collaborating with a teammate that was 11 hours apart from me (I'm based in the US and Srijeeta, my teammate, is based in India). Additionally, time management during the week was tough since we both have school, work, other responsibilities. It was my first time doing a week-long hackathon as well. Technically-wise, I'm still new to learning PHP, MySQL, and database design and it was my first time creating a commenting system so this was my first time using AJAX/jquery as well as really sift through the documentation to figure out the code.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Crislana: We are proud of building a finished, working product. Learning more about server connection, databases, login systems. We're also proud of having good team communication, being able to effectively collaborate despite the difference in timezones, and having good time management skills throughout the week.
What we learned
We learned how to refine the project lifecycle of our site. Specifically, we figured out how to create an overall vision of the project through our team calls, which helped guide our tasks and deliverables needed to accomplish this vision of our MVP. Also, we learned how to prioritize our features. We had to ask ourselves what features were most important to us that helped deliver our solution to our problem statement. Finally, we learned how to communicate our idea. Due to time constraints, refining features/adding features is a challenge, so communicating what we want to include had we had additional time in our Figma prototype can help show our planning and direction of where we want to take our project.
What's next for ReUp
Currently the site is hosted locally with XAMPP so the next thing to do is host live so users are able to interact with the commenting system that's behind the login. We do have a live demo to show the site, however the login/commenting system is still on localhost - otherwise you are able to check our webpages! Also we want to implement the digital "thank you" token we created in our prototype as well as having users able to upload images of the item they want to exchange in future iterations of this project.