Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll Scroll
UX / UI Design
For an Adobe + IBM Creative Jam challenge, teams from across the country had to conceptualize, design, and prototype an application in 48 hours. The prompt for the challenge was simple yet broad: Create an app to help fight climate change. Applications also had to incorporate emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and machine learning.
Our app, Thrift, utilizes AI and machine learning to help reduce the impact of the fast fashion industry on the environment. The essence of our app is to help consumers recycle old clothes and to inform users of the impact their clothes have on the environment. Thrift was selected 5th place out of the 50+ submissions.
Most consumers in America have run into a fast-fashion retailer at one point in their lifetime. Clothing from these companies can be produced quickly, cheaply, and sold at such volumes that companies are able to turn high profits in a short amount of time. Society’s increased demand for cheap clothing has propelled fast fashion to become the second-largest source of pollution in the world (next to oil). Garment production requires massive supply chain operations where each step drains the environment of valuable resources. For example, the conversion of petroleum into polymer beads to be spun into fibers, the chemical usage for textile finishes, or even the consumption of water for certain plants (I.e cotton) each require vast amounts of resources.
The production of textiles has made a devastating impact on landfills, air quality, and on bodies of land and water. In addition to this, “less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing globally is recycled into new clothing, with 12% recycled into other products such as insulation or mattress stuffing (The Guardian)”. Companies are producing far more than the demand created by consumers, allowing the after-effects of production to take a heavy toll on Earth’s biosphere.
In a snapshot, “more than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year”, “Americans throw away about 70 lbs of clothing per person every year, and fast fashion garments, which we wear less than 5 times and keep for 35 days, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year” (Forbes). These large numbers are the result of a business practice that relies on a linear economy, where the consumer determines the end life of a product.
A modern solution to the way that fast fashion companies conduct their operations is to implement a circular business practice; allowing companies to take back what they created to be recirculated into the economy. Our team plans to address this growing problem of overconsumption and overproduction by creating an app that facilitates the circulation of used textiles, by closing the loop.