Reset, an online clothing store that uses blockchain technology & a token economy, will deliver fast fashion with less waste.
Before I introduce Reset, I’d like to spend some time in the problem area, and what I believe are the main factors that drive fast fashion.
The fashion industry is responsible for an irresponsible amount of waste.
This problem has two dimensions to it.
1. The Production end
2. The Consumer end
Before the industrial revolution and globalization, people relied on local, manual labor for many goods. Since there is only so much any number of hands can produce, the waste produced was manageable. Fast-forward to 2021, and we can observe how technological advancements have reduced inefficiencies and reduced labor cost, translating into the production of clothing at a blinding speed.
But as I mentioned before, this is a two sided problem. Mass production would not be possible without mass consumption. We have increased the rate at which we buy clothes and discard them. Clothing has become a commodity and the fashion industry has become a self-preserving case of chicken and eggs.
To make matters worse, manufacturers sometimes burn whatever is not sold and in the best-case scenario, we donate clothes we no longer want and in the worst of cases, in a landfill. The average American will dispose of 70lbs of textile every year.
Current Solutions addressing waste
All this is not to say that there aren’t any active efforts attempting to reduce waste. For example:
Recycling: The EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills
Reusing/up-cycling: Efforts extend the life of material. There are also second-hand stores but unfortunately second-hand stores receive more clothes than they can manage and more than people are willing to buy. The reasons why are because clothes are used or clothes are out of style. We can assume, the problem with current up-cycling efforts is that although they are well-intentioned, do not close the loop.
Then what exactly is responsible for the problem?
What I found was that although fast fashion isn’t entirely responsible for the mass consumption of clothes, they were responsible for introducing the idea of decreasing design-to-retail time to about five weeks and introducing many more collections in a year. Before all this there were 4 collections. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Now a fashion brand might have up to 20 collections.
Online retailers such as Missguided have been able to reduce the production time to be able to release up to 1,000 new products monthly.
The CEO of Fashion Nova, a popular online retailer, said that it launches about 600 to 900 new styles every week. The rapid rate at which new capsule collections and designs are being released have accustomed buyers to desire more and quickly.
The reasons are in our neurology, economics, culture, and technology.
(**you will see later on this will play important part in the formulation of our solution)
From an economics perspective, Consumerism is deeply connected with how we describe the growth of economies. GDP and GNP measure how much is produced domestically and nationally, respectively. It measures consumption. And until we can change the way nations measure growth realistically and in a way that considers the value of the negative effects made, we won’t be able to fully become sustainable nations. Until that day comes, the question isn’t how do we reduce consumption; it becomes: How might we provide people with the fast-fashion experience while producing less waste.
Opportunity/unmet need: The current recycling and up-cycling solutions do not address the psychological, cultural, or technological factors that make fast fashion successful.
I looked into what shopping is to people. What jobs are people trying to get done when shopping for clothes?
So, Who is shopping?
Long story short: Everyone.
But women are overspending men
The most successful fast fashion companies market aggressively to women.
Shein, Fashionnova and Pretty little things, all have target women ages 16–25.
What are we doing? (behaviors)
Our research showed that many people buy clothes because they feel pressured to wear a different outfit every time they go out and much less likely to take a picture for social media wearing the same clothes in two posts. It might sound silly when you say it out loud. When I was researching this topic, I asked a couple of my friends what their shopping patterns were. When I mentioned this particular behavior, one of them shyly and almost embarrassingly acknowledged this behavior.
A big part of it stems from the trend of showing a hyper curated version of oneself on social media.
Fashion has become entertainment
“Half the men and 70 percent of the women consider shopping a form of entertainment,” a report explained. “They are researching products, comparing prices, envisioning how clothing or accessories would look on them, or responding to flash sales or coupon offers.”
The evidence suggests that shopping has taken on a new role in our society and our lives. It’s no longer just a transaction, a way to procure necessities or luxuries, but rather has become an end in itself. It’s a leisure activity, much like watching TV. It’s consumerism as entertainment.
Why are we shopping?(why)
The observations we made showed us what these young women need functionally and emotionally.
- Because of technology we feel the need to be constantly entertained. It is the direct overstimulation of all of the things around us. Emotional Benefit.
- The psychological effects of feeling validated on social media. This is an emotional benefit. One that promises that increases our own perceived social status.
- The neurological stimulus we get when purchasing an object we desire
- The feeling of knowing we just got a good deal.
The problem with current up-cycling is that it does not close the loop — other sustainable practices will eventually lead to clothing ending up in the landfill. This is where circular economies can help.
RESET is an online clothing store that uses blockchain technology & a token economy to deliver fast fashion with less waste.
Here is how it will work…
Reset will be based on a token economy and will leverage pre-consumer waste from textile companies and post-consumer textiles to design and produce garments.
Before RESET begins manufacturing each collection, they will release an online catalog that people can rate and be awarded some tokens for co-creating.
People will get their garments and will be able to wear them for as long as they want before sending them back. Once Reset receives the garment, people will get rewarded with tokens for returning the garment. RESET will place a QR code on a tag that will remain on the clothes to identify the garment and the individual who bought it. The number of tokens that shoppers will get will depend on how long they had the garment and the over quality of the garment when RESET receives it. This will be executed via smart contracts.
Textile companies awarded tokens will be worth monetary value; however, tokens awarded to consumers will only be used to fund other RESET purchases.
The road to a sustainable future yet to be within our reach. We must revise how we measure economic growth and progress. Until then, we have to ideate products that can perhaps leverage the worst to help us move forward.