The apps that are organizing your wardrobe

Hazan Kourda

Hasna Kourda learned how to make and take care of her clothes from her grandparents as a young girl growing up in Tunisia.

Water, food, and clothing all had to be managed in a circular fashion on the small island that Ms. Kourda and her family are from, she explains. "From the very beginning, we discovered how to create things. ".

Ms. Kourda claims she was astounded by the volume of clothing being purchased when she first arrived in Europe in the early 2000s to attend a French business school.

I naively believed that people had amazing social lives and didn't require anything. Then I understood that there was a strong throwaway culture. ".

People frequently leave clothes at the back of their closets, never to be worn again, if they don't discard them after only a few uses. People don't wear at least half of the clothes they own, according to a global study conducted a few years ago.

After several years of employment with various companies in the fashion industry, Ms. Kourda couldn't get rid of her unease about all this waste and made the decision to try to stop it.

In order to help people get the most use out of their clothing, she began raising money in 2017 while based in London to launch her own fashion technology company.

An app called Save Your Wardrobe, which was released in 2020, lets users organize their wardrobe by digitizing each item.

The Save Your Wardrobe app
Users can digitize their clothing collection using the Save Your Wardrobe app.

The app allows for the virtual scanning, identification, and storage of clothing. The app can then serve as a reminder of everything you own in an effort to encourage you to wear your unworn clothes again.

Additionally, it links people to nearby services like dry cleaners, donation centers for unwanted items, and alterations and repair shops so they can keep their clothing in good condition for longer.

In March 2020, right when the pandemic started, the Save Your Wardrobe app was released. According to Ms. Kourda, more than 100,000 people have now downloaded it.

FarFetch, a high-end fashion website, has invested, and Save Your Wardrobe has teamed up with Zalando, another such retailer, to launch a clothing care and repair initiative. Although the app is currently available for free, a paid version with more advanced features is planned.

According to sustainability expert and founder of the consultancy Circular Earth, Rachel Kan, many people will buy less clothing as a result of the current economic crisis. She predicts a significant shift in favor of minimalism.

Popswap, an app for exchanging clothes, was created by Swedish entrepreneur Lin Kowalska. She is convinced that businesses in the technology sector, such as her own, can lessen the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Surprisingly much damage has been done to the global environment. According to the UN, the fashion industry is accountable for eight to ten percent of annual global carbon emissions.

Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that millions of tonnes of textile waste are produced each year and that a truck load of used clothing is burned or buried in a landfill every second. This group works to promote increased textile recycling.

On the social media site Popswap, users can share pictures of their outfits, connect with others whose sense of style they admire, and swap clothes with them. According to Ms. Kowalska, "just like on Tinder, they develop a relationship with one another and match based on style and swap outfits.".

A woman using the Popswap app
After first making a name for itself in its home market of Sweden, Popswap is now eyeing global expansion.

She previously worked in marketing, and after having a discussion with friends about using each other's wardrobes, she came up with the concept for Popswap. Then Ms. Kowalska requested that tech experts she knew create an app to facilitate clothing exchanges between her and her friends.

More than 100,000 garments have been traded through the Popswap app since its August 2020 launch, and it now has 40,000 users.

Currently, the majority of Popswap users are based in Sweden and trade clothes with neighbors. London will be among the cities where Ms. Kowalska plans to introduce the app.

16 to 25-year-olds, also referred to as Generation Z, make up the majority of the app's users. Ms. Kowalska claims that "Gen Z love it.".

Users of Popswap can use it for free, and the company earns revenue from in-app advertising and premium subscriptions. During the fashion weeks in Berlin and Stockholm, Popswap has also hosted clothing exchange gatherings.

The answer, according to Ms. Kowalska, is to figure out how to profit from fashion without creating new garments. "We need to work together across the industry and be more tech heavy for that to happen. " .

Young people are embracing used clothing, as evidenced by Popswap's primary user age demographic. Reports support this as well. In the UK, more than 75% of 16 to 24 year olds have exchanged clothing with others or would be open to doing so, according to a 2020 study.

But at the same time, fast fashion—often referred to as mass-produced, inexpensive, low-quality clothing—remains a favorite among cash-strapped consumers.

While used clothing sales are on the rise, according to a 2022 report by ThredUp, a US-based fast fashion retailer, 59 percent of consumers say it is difficult to break the habit.

ThredUp recently unveiled an ad campaign with Priah Ferguson from Stranger Things to encourage people to stop buying fast fashion.

ThredUp's president, Anthony Marino, claims that the goal of the business is to encourage consumers to consider used goods first. We think the circular economy revolution is well underway, in large part because of disruptors like ThredUp who have made it simple for consumers to participate.

ThredUp, founded in 2009, has grown to be one of the top online retailers of women's and kids' clothing, carrying more than 35,000 brands.

The business purchases used clothing from customers in exchange for money or store credit, then lists the items for sale on its website.

A series called "New Tech Economy" examines how technological innovation is going to influence the new, emerging economic landscape.

The company had a $1bn ($1bn) market value when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021. Additionally, the business collaborated on a resale program with Tommy Hilfiger, a luxury brand, last year.

Our ultimate objective, according to Mr. Marino, is to keep as many garments out of the landfill as we can. "Fashion companies that produce too much disposable clothing will be encouraged to make improvements if consumers, the government, and other industry stakeholders apply enough pressure. ".

According to Ms. Kan of Circular Earth, companies like Save Your Wardrobe, Popswap, and ThredUp are continuing to be instrumental in lowering waste and pollution in the fashion industry. Fashion tech companies will play a significant role in helping to recirculate fashion in an efficient and cost-effective manner, according to the expert.

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