“How might we incentivize and teach people to reduce their individual contributions to fast fashion waste?”
Fast fashion is the system of clothing being manufactured at alarming rates, to be sold to customers at cheap prices and then quickly discarded to make room for new items. The system leads to poor quality items, and harm to the earth and all its inhabitants.
Our team explored several different ideas for how to solve the problem of fast fashion. I contributed the Style Scan, Swap Parties and Workshop concepts.
Style Scan- An app that tells you where to buy better items
Swap Parties – A place where people can trade apparel and find new pieces from their neighbors
Re-Use Workshop – A re-purposing workshop. Bring in something old or damaged, and it will be transformed into something new that you can use!
Donation Bins – A donation bin service that recycles old textiles into new, useful items.
Ranking System – An online platform for published analysis of brands and materials used by various brands.
I facilitated a 3-day study including gathering daily outfit photos and designing questions about the participant’s clothing choices, with a total of seven participants.
Diary Study Takeaways:
- People are OK with used items when it comes from someone they know, or if it has a good reputation/framing: “vintage”
- People tend to choose clothes based on comfort and requirements for a given activity
In addition to diary studies, we also surveyed 42 people to gauge how and why people bought the clothes they bought:
- Community is important when it comes to re-using clothing, so as we brainstormed and developed our concepts we kept that as a primary factor
- Other trends included price, ease of access, and practicality of clothing items
Based on results from our research, we changed our focus from digital to real-world interactions and community activities. Before diving into a prototype, we developed User Enactment activities to test possibilities.
We chose nine ideas to enact that interested us the most and explained in detail what each portion of the enactment would entail:
Scenarios for User Enactments
I prepared marketing materials for the swap, as well as a currency to be used for trading clothing or accessory items. The flyer was created to show users an example of how a community swap party might be advertised in their neighborhood
Our enactment activities included a video demonstration, currency exchange for clothing swaps and sewing materials for repurposing workshops
One of our enactments demonstrated how to repurpose old jeans into a purse, and how to do repairs on clothing
I created user questionnaires to gather user notes, thoughts and feelings throughout the session. The questionnaire included 1-2 questions pertaining to each enactment. This helped us gather written documentation throughout the session.
From the user enactments, we gathered feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
Cons: The majority of our enactments were too time consuming and too much work for our users.
“That’s cool, but I wouldn’t do that“
I don’t have time for that”
Pros: Enactment six (Official Trade Event) received positive responses from all of our users.
“Love this idea! Especially if there were booths for items besides clothing”
“I would just check out the items even if I had nothing to trade“
” This looks interesting because I’ve never heard of this and I would be interested. If I had no items could we just buy stuff with money?”
We peaked users’ interest with the novelty of an Official Trade Event, and that shifted our direction to developing future plans for a system.
“It looks cool but I probably wouldn’t go unless I had a friend with me”
“If I had no items would I just be going to look, or would I be able to pay for tickets?”
We also learned that some users would only attend if they had friends with them, which reaffirmed our original idea to make these events places of social gathering and community. The events must be a destination, not simply a place of transactions.
We researched how Sneakercon works, social events where people bring their shoes, used or new, and buy and sell from each other.
We learned that people buy and sell other things besides sneakers, and the main draw of the event is the sense of community people feel when meeting people of similar interests.
Live Workshop Demo
Based on the feedback we received, we conducted a demo prototype with a focus on a social, educational workshop around clothing re-use:
We ended with informational handouts for attendees to learn more about the topic:
Last but not least, I conducted post-workshop surveys to learn from our users’ experiences and help my team make final tweaks to the workshop:
Final System Concept
The system that we propose is comprised of workshops showing people how to re-purpose their old and damaged clothes.
Workshops will have a variety of transformation options for old clothes: quilts, new patchwork clothes, bags and useful everyday items.
Our journey through developing and designing this system yielded a unique solution that interweaves our goals of:
- Raising fast fashion awareness
- Teaching effective re-use strategies
- Providing enjoyable experiences to participants