How often do you actually wear every item of clothing that you own? How can we make our wardrobes (and our buying habits) more sustainable?
Clothing provides its greatest benefit to society when it lasts longer, is used more frequently, and is re-used or recycled. Currently, however, most clothing is part of the traditional make-use-dispose linear cycle, with the majority of clothing ending up in landfills. What is needed is a market-based system that will incentivize clothing manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to drive demand for clothes that have superior emotional and physical utility and durability. Such a system would also allow deeper, on-going engagement between brands, retailers, and consumers.
Some companies are beginning to use technologies such as RFID and NFC to track the position of an item of clothing. These efforts have been primarily used to track clothing inventory across points within the supply chain. Parallel to this, smartwear has emerged that integrates clothing with electronics and sensors. This project seeks to extend these tracking and smartwear applications to measuring clothing use, so brands, retailers, and consumers can gain insight into consumer behavior.
The time is ideal for a collaborative, industry-wide effort to develop standards and policies around clothing use and longevity. Your gift can help us achieve these goals.