Industrial - Bachelors


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LOOP reduces the impact of fast fashion by keeping clothing in the used market for longer. LOOP connects consumers and brands in used clothing markets, enabling brands to participate in circular business models on scale. LOOP adds value to used clothing by capturing, tracing, and communicating information about used garments through a centralised platform, enabling used clothing to be integrated with e-commerce.

Industries have the power to transform when technological innovation collides with the motivations of consumers, businesses, and government.

James Reinhart, thredUP Co Founder & CEO

The cliff Analogy

Current fashion business models can be viewed through the analogy of a cliff. Brands send their clothing off a ‘cliff’ (consumer purchase) to its base (used market) where they are no longer the concern of the company who originally profited from their sale. The issue with this model is brands rely on pushing clothes off this cliff, where at the bottom, consumers try to organize the ever-growing pile of clothing – consumers cant find what they want in that pile – so they get more clothes from the top of the cliff.
This model is a problem, as companies can only profit from the initial sale ( by sending clothes off the cliff) so they keep doing it. There is an onus on brands to monitor where their clothes end up in order to make truly low-impact products.

issues Enabling fast fashion

Issue 1: Businesses rely on unsustainable (one way) models for profit

1. Once products are sold brands cannot capitalize on resell profits, meaning they fall back to unsustainable models

2. Brands rely on high volume low-cost goods, creating an oversupply of low-quality used products, meaning these products have no value in used markets due to rapid deterioration.

Issue 2: Consumers struggle to find clothing in used markets

1. Used clothing is a market with wide product mixes and many players, meaning product upload information varies, making it difficult for consumers to find used clothing items online.

2. Eccomerce is designed for new and pre cataloged products, making the upload of used products unfeasible on-scale, limiting consumer access to used products online.


LOOP keeps clothing in used markets for longer

The fashion market is a mix of players and products, previously dominated by retail brands there is a trend for used clothing and this trend is expected to double in the next 5 years (Thredup, 2021).
The fashion system is made of different subsystems, Brand new retailers, Middle Market retailers, Used market retailers, and Resource-based players. Once clothes leave the ‘New Market’, they cannot return, this creates oversupply in used markets and affects the environment at the bottom end of the market flow.

Brands Responding to consumer Demand- A new market

Brands are beginning to offer a brand new product experience on used products. This is largely due to the increasing popularity of used clothing, and it also acts as a powerful CSR tool for companies with sustainable objectives. The problem is that acquiring information requires the individual processing of each item as second-hand items are unique, unlike brand new clothing which is produced in batches. This means it’s difficult for brands to scale this new sustainable business practice to a level that has a true impact on the used clothing market.

Our clothes have a story, LOOP helps tell it.

By users ‘logging’ location, repairs and exchange of ownership clothing begin to develop intrinsic value, something new clothing cannot obtain authentically. The provenance of the items can also be traced by the use of a centralized platform.
Information that LOOP can collect with the LOOP platform includes LOCATION, AGE, ORIGIN, OWNERS, MATERIALS, REPAIRS, BRAND, SIZING, VALUE, EVENTS.
This information can give new value to an old tee shirt, by telling the story behind our clothes in an efficient way LOOP creates more value to used goods, enabling them to compete with brand new products.

Every item of used clothing is unique, loop gives it a signature.

The main difference between brand new clothing and used clothing is that used clothing takes on attributes from its owner, making every item unique one way or another. LOOP captures this value by giving each article of clothing a unique digital signature (256 Bit) that allows it to interact with digital systems such as databases and ecommerce.

A unique signature enables integration with a centralised marketplace

The Unique LOOP signature correlates to metadata stored in a database through a centralised platform, using a smartphone users can scan the tag and log information, list and item, sell it or browse items based on meta values. A centralised platform enables consistency of information across products in the used market. By only allowing products to be listed by scanning the LOOP tag the information is ensured to be correct.

listing an item using a loop tag

An inseparable design

The tag has been designed to be manufactured using processes that create an ID tag that is tamper-evident and formed to the article of clothing. This was a key part of the design brief as the integrity of the LOOP platform requires a tag that is inseparable from the clothing garment.

Clothing textiles vary, so does loop

LOOP is made from recycled textile reinforced thermoplastic (PP), this proprietary plastic ensures that not only are the tags difficult to counterfeit, but they also do not compromise the style of the clothing and can be custom made to compliment clothing articles.

Maximising value with a systems approach

A systems approach centralises the LOOP network to a single marketplace. Third-party applications cannot be ignored, so the marketplace is designed to support third party providers by enabling integrations that take customers to their platforms.
By creating a revenue stream for companies to be able to capitalise off of in a used market, LOOP provides a sustainable business model for large companies.

Identifying opportunities through research

The fashion industry consists of new and used goods with an increase in the used goods market. Fast fashion has created an abundance of low-quality items that are not suitable for used markets due to the use of low-cost materials and production methods from profit maximising business models. Consumers have increased their adoption of purchasing used goods with research showing expectations for the market to grow in the coming years. This study was designed to explore the attitudes and barriers consumers experience when accessing new and used markets in an effort to identify a catalyst for used market adoption. Using a mixed-methods research approach consisting of quantitative and qualitative research, surveys and structured interviews were conducted with 32 and 4 individuals respectively. The findings revealed several themes impacting consumer’s participation in the used market with “accessibility and convenience” being a barrier of used market participation and that through traceability the used market can better compete with new products. Implications for system designers and retailers are discussed.
View the research report that informed this project
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Daniel Fisher

Daniel uses his design process as a tool to identify and communicate value, an entrepreneur at heart, he values the ability impactful business models have in delivering this value to people.