RE:UP is the platform for consumers, small to medium independent fashion brands, and individual fashion designers to become a part of the circular fashion economy, through sharing environmentally-based information. It aims to reduce waste from the fashion industry, making consumers, fashion brands, fashion designers become part of the whole cycle in a more conscious way.

Najung Kim
Deepu James
Replenish Earth
Creating a sustainable and transparent fashion industry
Fashion makes a sizeable contribution to climate change. Although consumer fashion waste has recently come under the spotlight, businesses continue to throw away 40 times more textiles than consumers. What's more, while most people pay attention to large fashion companies, small and medium fashion brands account for half of the fashion industry. Approximately 59,000 such companies exist in the UK, and they are an important driver of industry change. However, they often lack sufficient time and labour resources, making it difficult for them to consider the environment. This project finds a way for small and medium-sized fashion brands, which inspire creativity in society and are important drivers, to reduce waste and participate in a circular fashion economy with trendy Gen Z and millennial consumers and fashion designers. RE:UP, in collaboration with Replenish Earth, aims to achieve harmony with nature by exploring the future of food, living, travel, and garden spaces. This project has focused on future living, especially online shopping habits in the fashion industry.
RE:UP Service Concept

“Approximately 18% of emissions could be saved through operational improvements by fashion brands, and a further 21% through changes in consumer behaviour. Together, these efforts could reshape the fashion landscape.” This quote from the 2020 McKinsey Report reveals that in order to achieve a green fashion economy, consumers and brands need to work together. Accordingly, RE:UP targets consumers, especially trendy GenZ-Millennials and small and medium-size fashion brands. Potential users are supported and encouraged to take part in a circular fashion economy in which products and materials are kept in use for as long as possible through recycling and reuse rather than a linear economy, where resources are extracted from nature and typically discarded after use.To tackle the lack of resources faced by small and medium-sized fashion brands, individual fashion designers are integrated into a circular system that reuses leftover fabrics or unsold/returned garments from brands. Unique fashion items made by individual designers are sold to consumers, who can access the information of brands and designers participating in the circle and the production process.

Recycling and Redesign from small and medium-sized fashion brands and individual fashion designers

RE:UP encourages small and medium-sized fashion brands and individual fashion designers to recycle textiles destined for landfills and redesign unique fashion items, thereby infusing creative energy into the fashion industry. To address the challenges of small and medium-sized fashion brands lacking time and resources to participate in this effort, RE:UP installs collection boxes in their offices and manufacturers to help workers gather textiles easily. Printing the brand name on the box makes it easier for RE:UP to collect information on the type and number of materials each brand provides. These collected materials are uploaded onto digital platforms where individual fashion designers can order free materials to construct new fashion products. Designers can use these materials to produce garments, accessories, and other fashion categories without restrictions. The only caveat is that designers must upload sources and information regarding the used materials, in order to transparently communicate these contents to consumers.

Support consumers to reach transparent environmentally-based information

RE:UP offers Gen Z and millennial consumers the opportunity to find special fashion products. On the main page, consumers can see how RE:UP collaborates with small and medium-sized brands to reduce waste. In addition, information on eco-friendly approaches from individual designers and brands that provide recycled materials for making products appears on the product page. When consumers are satisfied with the environmental priority of the designers, they can give the designer a high eco-rating, assisting other consumers in their purchasing decisions. Consumers can fulfill their desire to support small brands and designers that exhibit a sense social responsibility through conscious consumption with transparent information. Through prototypes, consumers have reported that they were satisfied with the transparency of the information and felt confident that their purchase enhanced sustainability in the textile industry.

The impact: Green fashion industry for small and medium-sized fashion brands, individual fashion designers, and Gen Z-Millennial consumers

RE:UP helps three groups, that already have influence in the fashion industry, to naturally take part in a circular economy. RE:UP can help break the cycle of fashion brand manufacturing waste and naturally produce green images for brands, allowing them to have the competitive edge in appealing to consumers. It also provides opportunities for fashion designers to maintain eco-friendly careers and redesign products at a low cost. By naturally informing consumers of the benefits of a circular economy and factors to consider when purchasing products, this service encourages them to achieve social responsibility through consumption and to consider environmental factors when making purchases, even from other online retailers. A ThredUp report stated that “96% of fashion industry executives said they wanted to advance their company’s approach to circular fashion.” RE:UP offers an alternative solution by establishing a platform for small to medium independent fashion brands, designers and consumers to take part in the production of sustainable textiles in a circular fashion.

RE:UP in future

RE:UP will continue to help both individual fashion designers and small and medium-sized brands grow in a circular system. Individual designers can establish new brands at low cost through material recycling and naturally enter the fashion industry. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized brands can expand their scale by informing consumers of their brand stories to gain loyal customers. RE:UP will assist fashion workers and industry growth within an eco-friendly circle, starting with a small service with small and medium-sized brands as opposed to fast fashion.

special thanks

Special thanks to Qian Sun, Hyorang, Kyuri, Yujin, EJ, Luna, all of interviewees and prototypie participants, and all of my friends helping to work for my project.

students involved on the project

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