The average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year, and the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions. Researchers project that by 2050, the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.
We often buy clothing that's only worn once before we move on to the next thing. It's wasteful and counterproductive when it comes to addressing the most pressing problem of our generation: climate change.
What's more is that fast fashion — low-cost, rapidly produced clothing — isn't just environmentally harmful. It also exploits cheap labor in sweatshops around the world.
What it does and how I built it
That's where Sustainably Yours comes in. Sustainably Yours is a full-stack web app built using MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js. As a digital platform for people to buy and sell secondhand clothing, it's a way to fight back at fast fashion.
Sustainably Yours handles user authentication with JSON Web Tokens, adding new users to a MongoDB Atlas database running on Google Cloud. Once users sign up, they can put clothing they no longer wear on sale, so it can find a second owner. Users can also browse the clothing that other sellers have posted. With Sustainably Yours, users can avoid wastefully throwing away clothing, or shopping from fast fashion retailers more than necessary.
Furthermore, Sustainably Yours is integrated with the Twilio SMS API and the Gmail API through OAuth 2.0 authentication. To contact a seller, a user can just log in to Sustainably Yours with Google and send an email or text straight from the Sustainably Yours web app.
Other technologies I used include Mongoose for connecting to MongoDB, Redux for state management, Reactstrap for using Bootstrap components in React, and CSS.
Challenges I ran into and what I learned
I usually stick to front-end development, so it was a bit nerve-wracking to tackle making a full-stack application. But in doing so, I learned a lot about setting up a back-end database and connecting it to a React front-end! I had a lot of trouble uploading images to my MongoDB database, so that's something I hope to smooth out as I continue to iterate on Sustainably Yours.
What's next for Sustainably Yours
To make Sustainably Yours more accessible, I want to make the website responsive. It'd also be great to develop a mobile app version. Additionally, it would be cool to have an in-app chat option, instead of just relying on the Gmail API or the Twilio SMS API. Sustainably Yours could even go beyond being a digital marketplace by morphing into a full-fledged community where people exchange tips on how to be sustainable when it comes to fashion or other areas of life, and raise awareness about ecological issues.
In the fight against climate change, Sustainably Yours helps us avoid wastefully throwing out clothing and shopping excessively at fast fashion retailers. Let's live more sustainable lives.